Japan – 43%ABV – 750ml – $35-40 | £35 | €41
I bought my bottle of Suntory Yamazaki 12yr more a year ago (it is now gone, sadly) and I broke it out on rare occasions. Not because it’s the most spectacular dram but because it’s so very different than scotch and I’m not always in the mood for it.
Don’t get me wrong, this is some pretty impressive stuff and it makes me want to try more Japanese whiskies. I don’t drink it all the time but when I do, it makes my mouth happy.
Initial whiff — The stuff noses like my dad’s old bourbon (I always loved sneaking sniffs of my dad’s bourbons when I was a kids because it burned my nose and made me sneeze – ah, to be 8 again…). The stuff has an initial bourbon-y element, some sour corn and alcohol. Followed by some honey and dried fruits. Like a scottish bourbon if there were one.
On the mouth — Smooth honey and drying oak. This is one of the driest single malts I’ve ever had. This is a nice thing actually. Oh, some vanilla came through now, nice. There is a cream soda element to it too (even feels a wee bit effervescent).
Finish — Dry & long. Honey and oak. The sour corn comes back too.
In sum — This is a huge bargain (in the US), well worth the $35 bucks or so that I paid for it. Though this made me want to try other Yamazakis, the 18yr is about $100 and from what I heard, it’s just not worth the price. Maybe I’ll find a swanky Japanese joint that has the 18yr and I’ll try it but $100 too much casheesh for me!! Also, Yamazaki came out with a sherry cask see it here at Master of Malt (plug, plug). The color on the sherry cask looks like the color of a nice 20+ year rum!
If you want to try some right quick (without buying a bottle), go to a Benihana’s (Japanese restaurant), they have it as a standard malt on their menu.
One thing that still throws me off is that this is not a corked bottle but a screw top. Strange but…cool. Arigato Japan!