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Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Kaiyō 8 year old "K&L Exclusive" cask 541

Kaiyō, the Japanese whisky brand with curious origins, has range of whiskies with names that borrow the definite article convention of certain Scotch distilleries. There's The Sheri, The Peated, The Single and The Signature. They've also rolled out several single casks for a trio of American whisky retailers. I have samples of the pair of K&L casks. First up, the refill hoggie finish...

Brand: Kaiyō
Ownership: The Easter Bunny
Type: Vatted, or Blended, Malt
Country: Japan
Age: 8 years old
Bottled: 2019 or 2020
Maturation7.5 years in Mizunara oak then one year in 2nd-fill hogshead
Cask #: 541
Exclusive to: K&L Wine Merchants
Alcohol by Volume: 56%
(from a bottle split)


Eau de vie mixes with golden delicious apples, white peaches, toasted oak and saline in the nose. It gradually trades the eau for flowers blossoms and a touch of cream soda. The sharp, hot, sweet and floral palate is very barley-forward, reading like a mix of lemons, grass and pilsner. It finishes with sweet and tangy citrus, a little bit of metal and a lot of black pepper.

DILUTED to ~46%abv, or 1¼ tsp of water per 30mL whisky

The nose is all apples and pears in caramel sauce. Now loaded with caramel, the palate reads almost like a Canadian whisky, just caramel, vanilla, metal and black pepper. The finish is just one big extra-sugary caramel blanket.


Mizunara casks are usually very subtle. In cask 541, the Japanese oak has been overwhelmed by the spirit (not a bad thing) and the American oak (not a good thing), appearing only slightly in the nose. What we're left with is a Craft whisky. It's an unfinished sentence with an exclamation point at the end. While yesterday's The Sheri felt more "produced", it also seemed more complete, a benefit that well-blended batches often have.

Availability - Sold out
Pricing - $99.99
Rating - 79