The Matsui Mizunara Cask won Double Gold at San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2019 and was awarded Japanese Single Malt of the Year in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2020. With that kind of high praise, I came in with high expectations.
On the nose, it’s very light and floral. It coats the mouth and burns a bit from the alcohol, leaving a dry oak on palate. The more I smell, the more a light cherry flavour seems to make itself known. Adding a couple drops of water really intensifies the nose, bringing out more sweetness. It also reduces the burn on the palate but I feel like oak is the predominant flavour and anything else has to battle its way through to be heard.
The more this sits out, the better it gets. An oily toffee sweetness is more evident. That’s one of the things about relying on awards is that it’s difficult to know how they partook of the whisky.
Despite all the awards, this doesn’t hit the mark for me. Interesting on the nose but it fails to follow through on the palate.