Japanese Name: サントリー ザ・プレミアム・モルツ 〈香るプレミアム〉“初摘みホップ”ヌーヴォー
Release: Nov. 17, 2015
Type: Japanese Beer (ビール)
Purchase Price: ￥205 @Aeon
In a one-two punch, Suntory has decided to freshen up the Kaoru Premium brew with the addition of fresh Saaz fine aroma hops, a first for this relatively new ale. I believe this is the first time one of the Big Four has chosen to use newly harvested hops on two “beer” labels in the same year. To boot, this might be the longest title ever written on Beers of Japan!
This version of Kaoru Premium pours into the glass with a nice golden hue. Its fragrance of malt and hops is very full and fruity. The start of the first mouthful is also fruity, perhaps persimmon (I’ve been eating a lot of them lately) with some citrus and spice notes. The mid-palate is earthy and is where the bitterness starts, continuing down the throat.
Being an ale with more complex flavors than the pilsner, I feel that the freshness of those fine aroma hops are masked. Kaoru Premium Hatsu-Tsumami is a solid and worthwhile beer in its own right, but reviewing my notes last year on the regular version, I found it to be similar in taste. A side by side comparison will probably be in order, however I do prefer the pilsner version.