Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Whiskey Wednesday: Usuikyou - The World's Worst Whisky?
We continue our series of the world's worst whiskies with a Japanese Single Malt. Now Japan has been making single malts in the Scotch style since the 1920s, and I have generally found their malts to be of excellent quality, rivaling those of Scotland, but that's not to say that there aren't a few bad apples in the barrel, and in this case, some totally rotten, maggot-filled apples.
Usuikyou is an independent bottling by the Tokuoka Company of malt from the little known Monde Syuzou distillery in Yamanasi, Japan. According to Nonjatta, the best on-line English language source on Japanese Whisky, Monde Syuzou is mostly produced for blends. As far as I can tell, the Usuikyou, a 25 year old, cask strength(64% abv) malt distilled in 1983, is the only single malt bottling from this distillery, though Nonjatta reports that they may be considering a distillery bottling of the single malt (if Usuikyou is at all representative of their style, I implore them not to do so!)
How to describe the aboslute horror of the vile liquid that is Usuikyou. The nose gives you metal, some sherry and old garbage left out in the sun. The flavor is distinctly that of burnt rubber, like when a semi slams on the breaks. The finish is bitter and metallic and lasts seemingly forever. Even after having another whisky, I could still taste this wretched spirit. It's just horrifying, cringe-worthy stuff. One of my fellow tasters at the Los Angeles Whiskey Society (who I gladly shared a sample with) asked, "Who was the demented person who bottled this stuff?" Who indeed?
Move over Loch Dhu, there's a new king of nasty in town.
Next week we continue our parade of bad whiskies with a look at a distillery that somehow puts out some of the greatest and some of the worst whiskies around.