Leaving Nikka for a while and now visiting Suntory’s Yamazaki. Yamazaki is the oldest working distillery of Japan being founded by Shinjiro Torii in 1923. It lies between Kyoto and Osaka. Shinjiro Torii also founded the Suntory company. As with Nikka founder Masataka Taketsuru, both men were pretty influential in the rise of Japanese whisky. Taketsuru also first worked for Torii as a distillery executive before embarking on his own adventures.
Nose: Furniture wax and burnt sugar. Before I go on, I have to say it’s a very thick and rich smell. It’s barely recognizable as a whisky. It could have been rum, but also smells like a PX Sherry. A truckload of raisins and prunes. Cacao with oak, minty oak actually. Glue, sugar and gravy. Well this is a pretty complex Japanese whisky.
Taste: Very dry and oaky. Toast and a hint of soap. The soap returns in the texture that otherwise is pretty thin. Sherried. Seems old. Red & black fruits, mocha and coffee. Dry teeth. Unfortunately this has a short slightly burnt, oaky finish. In this case it’s probably a good thing it got reduced, because if this would have been 55% ABV or even higher, with all these thick aroma’s and all that oak, it probably would have been very hard to drink. It’s a syrup (just not in the texture).
To my amazement, this is almost sold out everywhere. Don’t they make this anymore? If you think this is just the next standard Yamazaki after the 12yo and the 25yo, think again. This is very pricey stuff. If you want it today, be prepared to part with 600 Euro’s (800 USD) at auctions or 800 Euro’s (1000 USD) from a store. Wow, what an experience. So if you can get a dram in a bar, please do, you’ll have to try this, if it’s only just once in your life.