Three covered glasses was placed on top of a piece of paper explaining the various characteristics of the whisky. We walked through the colour, the notes ie what we expect to smell from the whisky, and what it tastes like. What I learned that you need to return the glass to the nose a few times for you to pick up the various notes they explained. I did manage to identify the fruits and vanilla after a while. Not well, mind you, but enough for me to follow the seminar.
The first is the Hamazaki 12 years old. This is a pretty strong smelling, strong tasting whisky which doesn't really suit my palate at all. While it is supposed to be fruity, the first thing you notice is the strong smell of alcohol for some reason. It was the opinion around the room as well.
The next up is the Hakushu 12 years old. This whisky had to be my favourite of the night. On the nose, it was soft and fruity. On the palate it reminded me of a dry wine, which is always a favourite. There was a smoky peaty taste that wasn't a hit with quite a few people. But I didn't mind it at all.
The last was the favourite of many, the Hibiki 17 years old. It was a rich amber with strong fruits and lily on the nose. It tasted rather sweet but was smooth as silk. It tasted a lot stronger than the Hakushu.
It was a very interesting seminar that taught me appreciate whisky a little more. But I learned that I would probably not enjoy Scottish whisky and I might pick up a bottle on the way back from Japan at the end of the year.