Yamazaki Distiller’s Reserve
Yamazaki is all the rage right now, after Jim Murray decided to declare one of its expressions as the best single malt in the world. That expressions was the Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2013, which has now become insanely expensive. But if you feel you just need to have a bottle of Yamazaki, then there are other, cheaper options, such as the Distiller’s Reserve, a whisky without an age statement.
The makeup of this whisky is rather interesting. There are three main components. Whisky younger then 10 years that has also matured for 6 months in wine casks (Bordeaux Château Lagrange). Then there is older sherry-aged whisky of about 20 years old (probably a very small amount). And also some very young whisky aged in Japanese oak casks, or mizunara casks.
Yamazaki Distiller’s Reserve (43%, OB)
Nose: Starts of a bit sour with a metal quality and something mineraly (is that a word?). Then it becomes sweeter with some faint red fruit and something tropical, maybe nectarine and peach. There are also some herbs/spices with coriander and cinnamon. The nose is rather closed though.
Taste: Mouthfeel is watery. Fairly sweet, candy-esque almost. Some caramel and marzipan. Then those get washed away by vanilla and wood spices. Cinnamon and nutmeg. Not bad at all, but a little bit boring.
Finish: Medium-length finish. Dry, slightly bitter and woody with a hint of chocolate and maybe some smoke, although I’m not completely sure.
This is an okay whisky, but not very adventurous and most definitely not a game changer. A nice entry-level whisky if you ask me, but at around 50 euro it is rather expensive for that purpose.
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.