What? Japanese whisky? What the…? Indeed my friends, Japanese whisky exists! But is it any good? We’ll soon find out. But first some background. The Yamazaki is a whisky produced by Suntory in Japan. The Japanese are famous for taking a product introduced abroad and perfecting it and Suntory has attempted to do this since at least 1923 at, according to the bottle, the oldest distillery in Japan. The Yamazaki distillery appears to be one of few in the world that makes several types of single malts. In other words, most Scotch is made up of one type and aged over different years and casks. Yamazaki 12 may be made of a different type than its 10 year old. You can read about the fascinating history and methodology here.
So how about this whisky? It’s 43% alcohol by volume and comes in a nice gold colour. Swirling it in my glass reveals legs that run thick but quickly.
On the nose, it’s quite sweet. I smell melon and honey. Maybe some raisin at the end. No smokiness here, at least not that I can tell.
On the tongue, it starts off sweet as well. It is full bodied, lots of texture, and a wide range of flavours that I can’t quite get a handle on to describe. Juicy flavour, some bite to it as it lingers on my tongue and quite tasty. You’ll have to decide for yourself. This one is very difficult to describe.
The finish does not disappoint. It’s long lasting and fruity. Some peanut towards the end, mixed with raisin and berries. Very good, though I am sure I am not doing it justice in my description.
With a few drops of water, the smell is slightly stronger. Not overpowering, but sweet once again and fruity. Melon for sure. Peach? Apricot? Something to that effect. Maybe a hint of pear.
The tongue delivers the same sweetness as before. Still hard to make out everything, fruits are definitely present and I will say apricot juice followed by raisin and peanut.
The aftertaste is much the same, becoming sweeter as it fades and leaving a long, sweet feel on the tongue.
Overall, this is a very complex whisky. Excellent not just for its age but overall as a whisky. This can easily compare to whisies much older than itself and highly recommended. You will not regret this purchase if you can find it. The SAQ in the Ailes de la Mode carries this product, but I am not sure if I have ever seen it elsewhere.