Where to start with Yamazaki. There’s such a hype surrounding Japanese whisky right now, it’s not even a little bit funny anymore. Yamazaki also ‘profits’, or is a victim. Depends on your point of view, I guess.
Late last year a price hike for the brand was announced by Suntory. At almost the exact same time, there was barely any Yamazaki exported from Japan, leading to a shortage. And last but not least, the Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2013 was named the best whisky of the year by Jim Murray.
There are even more factors in play, but add all the above together, and it leads to you paying around 100 euro at an auction for the Yamazaki 10 year old. A whisky that was replaced not very long ago by a 12yo-version. Which also sells for at least 80 euro, but often much more.
So much for the depressing stuff. Let’s actually taste.
Yamazaki 10yo (40%, OB)
Nose: Citrus (oranges and lemon) with a touch of glue. Sweet and sugared porridge with raisins, dates and some more dried fruits.
Taste: An oily mouthfeel. Brown sugar, plums, dates and cherries. Spicy. Cloves, nutmeg, black pepper. I don’t mind that this is bottled at only 40 percent.
Finish: Sweet cherries, sultana’s. Medium in length.
It is well-balanced, rich and has plenty of depth. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. An excellent entry-level whisky. You know, back when you could still buy this for less than 40 euro. Which wasn’t even that long ago.
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.