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Whisky Reviews

Kanosuke Rechar x Bourbon, 4 Year Old, Cask No. 20466, Exclusively Bottled For D.K., 58% ABV


Ahh we're well in the Golden Age of Kanosuke! 

Kanosuke has been highly praised in this new wave of Japanese whisky distilleries hitting the market now with their 3-5 year old single malts, and they've taken (smartly) to follow the Chichibu playbook of opting to release limited edition (and I mean actually limited, not like "limited" but it's somehow always available) progress whiskies.

So it's late 2023 now, and the tally follows: that's 2 in 2021 (First Edition and Second Edition), 1 in 2022, 1 in 2023, followed by a core release of sorts (which really just meant significantly larger outturn), an Artist Series (#1 and #2) and then a whole spate of private casks have been coming out of the woodwork (lots of them reviewed here). We've been fortunate to have been able to review most of the core Kanosuke expressions and then some!



And I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's a strategy that works - this sort of perceived scarcity and at the same time popping up everywhere all at once - it's like a Kanosuke Dutch oven of sorts (I jest...) and really turns up the heat on getting folks excited. It's also a telltale sign that the folks at Kanosuke really know what they're doing (there's also a Facebook Fan Group here if you're wondering) - after all if it's not as if the financial circumstances revolving around Kanosuke were anything like that of Chichibu's early days.

| Read: Mellow Land, Mellow Whisky – Kanosuke Distillery [Deep Dive]


Well played Kanosuke, well played.

In any case, we've got today a private cask Kanosuke for a D.K. - now I don't know what D.K. refers to, could be Donkey Kong for all I'm aware of, so if you do know, please comment down below - but more importantly, this one's aged in a Rechar x Bourbon cask that we haven't tried yet.



Rechar is a method that got quite popular with young distilleries for it's alleged ability to speed up the whisky's flavour development to take on more matured and intense flavours from the cask by basically shaving down a Bourbon barrel, toasting it and recharring it for the full effect (known as the STR method). I don't know if the Rechar here follows the full method above, but you get the idea.



Now, I must admit that prior to trying it, I have heard lots of folks raving about how Rechar casks do a splendid job with Kanosuke's whiskies - well, how was I going to avoid the spoiler alert when it was spontaneously mentioned during a whisky tasting session?! Do I need to put on noise-cancelling headphones from now on? That would be rather anti-social, no?

In any case, let's give it a go! After all, tasting it ourselves is the best acid test yet - lest an AI tongue of sorts is developed. 

Kanosuke Rechar x Bourbon, 4 Year Old, Cask No. 20466, Exclusively Bottled For D.K., 58% ABV - Review


Tasting Notes

Color: Light Amber

Aroma: Very punchy, deep notes of honey, caramel custard pudding and red apples. 

Taste: There’s a bright, supple flavour of caramel custard pudding, as well as more of those red apples, which quickly evolves into more bitterness.

Finish: More bitterness here, with more woody tannins coming through. There’s a residual note of caramel, but more bitterness lingers.


My Thoughts

This was a Kanosuke that seemed to be dominated by lots of woody tannins that altogether seemed to overwhelm its flavours with heavy bitterness, which was unfortunate as I got the sense that it masked the underlying Kanosuke signature style of caramel custards that seemed to be trying to push through.

My impression was that the Rechar cask might’ve been too active and ended up getting in the way of the underlying whisky, which didn’t seem to cohere too well between whisky and cask flavours.

In that sense, it almost felt like two legs of the same body kicking into one another with the net result being a rather basic flavour that was overran by bitterness.


My Rating: 3/10


Score/Rating Scale :

  • 9-10 : Exceptional, highly memorable, 10/10 would buy if I could.
  • 7-8 : Excellent, well above most whiskies, worth considering buy-zone.
  • 4-6 : Good, okay, alright; a few flaws, but acceptable; not bad, but not my personal preference; still worth trying, could be a buy if the price is right.
  • 1-3 : Not good; really did not enjoy; wouldn't even recommend trying.
  • 0 : Un-scored, might be damaged, new make, or very unusual.