Review: Hatozaki Omakase Rye Third Edition Mizunara Cask Finish

Review: Hatozaki Omakase Rye Third Edition Mizunara Cask Finish


Hatozaki Master Distiller & Blender Kimio Yonezawa is a fourth-generation shochu distiller who began producing Hatozaki’s whisky line in 2017. In addition to the brand’s core expressions, Yonezawa and his team produced limited runs of their “Omakase” line.

The third such release — limited to under 3,000 bottles, and only sold in the U.S. market — is an American rye whiskey that was finished in Mizunara casks at the Kaikyo Distillery. It’s the brand’s first foray into the rye category. We don’t have much more info on the initial aging or finishing periods, and the release is non-age stated.

Let’s see how it tastes.

On the nose, there’s oak and spice, each in ample supply. At first the predominant scent is of young oak, but that’s a red herring; after a few minutes in the glass, the wood influence here becomes spicier, hefty in black and red peppercorns, as well as cinnamon-scented holiday pine cones. Saddle leather, furniture polish, birch bark, and crushed mint come next.

Taken all together, it’s a bit like walking into a Christmas store at the local mall, with an array of spiced, woody scents hitting the nostrils all at once. (Though I’ll say nosing this rye is far more pleasant than spending minutes perusing through such an establishment.)

It’s a little challenging to find where the wood spice ends and the rye spice begins, but perhaps that’s a fool’s errand. If you like a busy nose, there’s plenty to spend time with here.

The palate is altogether calmer and more composed than the nose. The flavors come on a slight delay in contrast to the aromas that hit so suddenly with oak and spice. Sweet and wintergreen mint combine with vanilla around the midpalate, like a minty creme brulee. Rye spice settles in toward the back and sides of the tongue. Herbaceousness builds, with pops of dill and lavender providing some contrast to the heavy mint components.

A mid-length finish wraps up a narrative here: intensely spiced and woody on the nose, sweet mint and herbs on the palate, and a gradual integration of both to end. It’s just a tiny bit drying, throttling what would otherwise be the dram’s strongest act.

84 proof.


Hatozaki Omakase Rye Third Edition Mizunara Cask Finish




David Tao is a writer for Drinkhacker.

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