Zhong Shi Ji
Zhong Shi Ji was announced to the world in April 2019 through various press released being poured onto western websites that typical feature or review whisky. It appears that we’re the first whisky retailler to actually list this product, some 4 months after it was announced. But hey, we’re about whisky, and we’re not here to prejudge when internationally accepted definitions of the word “whisky” (or “whiskey”) might have become a bit wobbley and grey.
Apparently a joint venture between Diageo and Jiangsu Yanghe Distillery, apparently the third biggest Bai Jiu producer in China. It’s pitched as being a whisky that has been crafted to suit the Chinese palate. It is claimed to have a unique production process that includes some ageing within ceramic pots.
We have had a bottle open at the office and probably the most important thing we can say to all those that are interested is – IT DOESN’T SMELL OR TASTE LIKE BAIJIU. It smells like whisky, it tastes like whisky, and it probably is some type of whisky underneath the wrapper.
Nose: The nose is quite soft and light. There are notes of grains there, and we’d take a wild guess at it being a mash bill of high wheat, possible some small amounts of rye in there, and a shovel full of barley. No real “malt” indicators on the nose.
Palate: Well, it tastes like an easy-drinking, entry-level blended scotch. It’s not a bad drink, but there’s nothing really that comes through on the taste except that generic background flavour that seems to be in all scotch style blended whisky, that gets superseded by more interesting facets on more complex blends. Sure, there’s some kind of grainy sensation there, and some lumps of something woody, but its more MDF than it is oaked. There’s a sweetness there, but not a refined and polished sweetness that would come from sherry cask or port cask, more like aspartame.
Finish: It passes by like the bus that you didn’t want to catch anyway. It’s not taking you to where you want to go, but it’s not getting in the way either. It’s not offensive, it just doesn’t have anything to be remembered. After tasting it, the phone rang, 6 minutes after the phone call ended, the finish just couldn’t be remembered. It had to be tasted twice just to reiterate the nothing.