Matsui Shuzo Distillery was founded in 1910 northwest of Kyoto on the facing the Sea of Japan in Tottori Prefecture. Importantly, the distillery is within sight of Mount Daisen — a volcanic peak rising more than a mile above the surrounding fertile plains. This is significant because the spring water used to distill their Sake, Shōchū, and Whisky and bring it to proof has filtered through volcanic stone for eons — resulting in significant purity and a unique, soft mineral composition.
The Matsui Shuzo Distillery keeps a low profile. It’s almost enigmatic with no visitor center or direct sales. But the line Whiskies that comes out of their warehouses are very highly regarded — including ten Single Malts under the Kurayoshi brand and five grain Whiskies under their Tottori nameplate. All of them very popular with the discriminating dram-lovers across the Land of the Rising Sun.
Kurayoshi 8 Year Old Pure Malt Whisky has been aged a bit differently than it’s siblings. Obviously, it has been aged eight years, which you can tell by the name. But instead of new oak or Sherry casks, this dram has aged in ex-Bourbon, white oak casks. It’s is a 100% malted barley Whisky, sourced from distilleries around Scotland, before making their way to Japan, where it is blended with Japanese Whisky, aged, and cut to proof with the soft ground waters of the legendary volcanic stone filtered water of Tottori Prefecture. The good folks at Matui Shuzo Distillery execute very well and deliver the goods with a complex, ripe mouth feel and gentle orange notes that will remind you of a classic Highland Single Malt.
Smartass Corner: Mount Daisen is regarded by some ancient religious sects in Japan as a holy mountain — including the syncretic Shugendō faith of "the path of training and testing."
A delicious combination of sweet white bread, biscuit, almonds and vanilla. Surprisingly rich mouthfeel. Medium finish but with some punch to it. Really good, among the best Japanese whiskies I’ve had.
I didn't hate it, but it's not something I would ever order. Strong bitter taste that borders on astringent and the bouquet matches. I can taste the vanilla but it's over powered by such a strong oak flavor that it tastes more smoky than oak
I’ve never had anything quite like this. Light, fruity and sweet
A bit of spice, mostly smooth, very light finish.
Delicious by far my favorite that I've tried so far. Which is limited as I'm a developing whiskey drinker but this is so good clean in a chilled glass I could drink this all night.
Very strong overripe fruit flavors and can definitely taste the minerality as well
Malty with almond vanilla and apple. It is easy to drink but for me it tastes how my favorite perfumes smell. Cant tell if that’s good of not.
Salty, savory on the nose, can taste that it is aged near the sea... reminds me of Oban Single Malt Scotch
Initially get browned butter followed by some spice, bright citrus, and finished with some lingering port sweetness. Can’t say I get much of a nut/almond note.
Very light in appearance and taste up front, definitely sherry up front as well. Finish gets harsher with some spiciness that slowly mellows.
Of the 3 in the tasting box, this one I liked the most, while my friend didn't care for it at all. I'm looking forward to exploring more Japanese whisky.
Not the biggest fan. Loved the way it smelled and had high expectations with the first taste. To me it smelled almost like a stout beer with some citrus, which was very intriguing. But it was almost too nutty for my pallet. I could see this being great in a cocktail but not worth it in my opinion.
Just like scotch
Just okay. Quite harsh with a lot of burning in the after taste while drinking neat.
Every so often I find something that reminds me of tequila notes.
I definitely don't like tequila.
This unfortunately pushes all those buttons for me.
extremely smooth and easy to drink. Not one I would have picked out but exactly why we love Flaviar, to experience what we wouldn't have otherwise and this one really paid off
Better than others in the Japanese tasting box but just OK
Not bad, I can get the almonds if I really try but that's about it. Really light
Not bad. Prolly wouldn’t pay that price for it... tried neat, then added a small piece of ice... better on ice
Not bad. Lots of oak.
Light yet strong
A lot going on. Wish I could pin down what part I find so offensive about it.
First time testing Japanese whisky.. Marzipan in the nose and the taste. Orange and honey secondarily. Way too much burn to handle without at least a .25/1 water down, which for this price point isn't a great sign.
Love the front-loaded flavors and the nose. But the finish is drastically different from the rest of the expression - almost startling - and I'm not a fan of that so much. But, ultimately a good dram.
Peaty...complex flavor, bold
I didn’t get as much of the almond as the flavor wheel. This was my second favorite of the tasting box
More fruity flavor than detailed in flavor spiral. Smooth to drink.
Quite sweet, but good and smooth
It reminds me of a slightly cheaper Nikka Yoichi. Might be that the palate to finish was slightly peaty to me. not BAD, but not a game changer as far as Single Malts go. Would probably serve well in a Highball.
My mistake, this is a blend. Nonetheless it's still acceptable and drinkable, but not groundbreaking by any means.
A bit Horsey tasting. It’s like a horse bridle made of leathery orange peel. Can’t really recommend.
Nope. My (admittedly amateur) nose smelled nicotine right off the bat—is that the “mineral” part of the flavor spiral? It didn’t taste like nicotine. But. didn’t taste good. Hooray for the sampler bottles! Two out of three ain’t bad.
.67 ok on the rocks
Not for me. First drink is way too harsh. Mellowed out with some ice but still pretty harsh.
Decent but not spectacular. It was definitely drinkable though.
Smooth and balanced. Very drinkable.
Really nice malt flavor with a long smooth finish... I’m surprised by how much I love this whisky! This will be a regular in my bar from now on!
This was really good. It had a similar taste to Johnnie Walker with a touch of honey or some sweetness. Would definitely add this to my collection.
I preferred the two sherry/sake flavored drinks that came with my tasting. This tasted more like a traditional scotch.
to petty for me
Wow!!!! Enough said.
Nice Japanese Whisky
softer nose with strong almond and vanilla. Almost a hint of grass (reminds me of Suntory toki but way more expensive) very Oakey with hint of Sherry and vanilla. Pretty smooth overall but kind of boring.
Smelled the orange zest and the almonds, but really didn’t pick up on the vanilla. Wasn’t fond of the aftertaste.
Orange zest, almonds, very earthy flavors with medium spice.
This was very good! Sweet like honey.
Definitely has heat...maybe not my favorite!
Card was labeled the sherry cask instead but the flavor spiral and label match this one in the 12 Days of Christmas Whiskey Tasting Box. (12/12)
Strong almond flavor and sherry on the back end.
The first sip was hot going down but it mellowed after that and became very enjoyable!
Not sure what others see in this whisky it was barely passable for me. The finish is not smooth and the taste is not as good as the nose. I give it some points for having robust flavors that come through the young alcohol burn and the spice notes are there. Maybe its just not my thing as some people seem to love it. Not even a true Japanese whisky and it shows. I tried these along side Ohishi 8YR Sherry Cask and Fukano Vault Reserve #1 and those were fantastic smooth drinking whisky. Don't cringe too hard but this ended up making a fine whisky and coke. The other two I drank neat as they were very nice.
It is a very good, creamy, Japanese Pure Malt Whisky that has an aromatic birth; while a rich & fruity life leads to a delicate death of medium length with notes of oak, port & sherry.
A little on the hard yet sweet side. Unique taste for sure.
Predominant almond notes. Nice bite.
Out of the three it’s my least. The almond and orange sorta put me off. The after taste it lingered but just not my cup of whiskey.
Aroma is like a good light beer. Malt and hints of a sweetness. Taste is a bitey fruity followed by spice and oak. On ice all I get is a slightly zesty burn.
It's ok, not something I'd keep on hand.
Very Oakey. I’m not a fan of these kind of whiskeys but it is not bad.
Nice almond/vanilla on the nice, with a strong fruity taste upfront. Wonderful long finish with strong oak flavor and just a slight spice. Great pour!
The almond up front is nice, kind of amaretto-like. Unfortunately, to me, the harshness of the alcohol feels like an astringent in the mouth. That said, there is a complex flavor here. Not my favorite, but worth the experience.
A little harsh with terrible a after taste and not a lot of depth in flavor
This was my introduction to Japanese whisky. It was smooth and light, maybe a bit too light. It probably could have had a deeper flavor if it were aged longer.
Almonds in the nose, fruity palate, finishes warm, citrus
My favorite in the 12 day of Christmas box, and it's not close
A great whisky
Very almond in the front end
A solid whiskey
Oak/wood, vanilla, cream, buttered toast
Very nice. Much like a McAllen or a less peaty Oban
Very smooth and oaky for it being only 8 years old. Sweet and dry with a hint of orange.
Very light. Can taste the almond in the aftertaste.
Very nice, with the more earthy notes of oak, sherry, almond and mineral. Easy to drink, hits you different than any Scotch or Whiskey I've tried.
Smooth and light, very good.
By far one of the best tasting Japanese whiskeys I have ever had. Smooth and delicious and not a bad price. My local liquor store has it for $99.00 plus tax. I highly recommend this whiskey.
There are many other choices for Japanese whiskies and I recommend trying any of them over this dram.
Nutty with a citrus zest that is savory with a slight touch of sweet. Very delicate flavor profile awakens notes not tasted frequently from these spirits.
Initial nosing reveals vanilla with a splash of citrus (lemon/orange). Tasting lingers with spice, brine, some vanilla and a bit of earth. A little burn, but not terrible. Nothing stood out as wonderful...just average.
I really enjoyed the bite if this drink.
This selection was much harsher than my liking.
Too peaty. Burned going down. Not my bag at all.
Not a fan
Really smooth flavor and was a nice sipper
On the nose this has a spring water early morning floral smell; however, the taste is of oak “firewood without the burn” and just lingers there not developing much until a slight vanilla spice finishes.
This expression is a bit harsh on the nose and definitely requires a few more years in the cask to ease the burn. The finish is not very pleasant. While I understand that Japanese whiskeys are in high demand, leading to the higher than expected price, I do not believe the Kurayoshi 8-years is all that.
Fine. Just fine.
A very nutty finish, but the first taste is a bit too spicy for my preference. Definitely a flavorful whisky, just not necessarily my thing.
A bit of peat, a bit of citrus, and very smooth. Unassuming. Not my favorite whiskey, but not because it was bad in any way. It just wasn't "special".
Very smooth, notes of spice, burnt marshmallow, citrus. A hint of peaty smoke. Very nuanced, not in your face like an Islay.
Very good drink!!!