Japanese Whisky has come a long way since inception. Yamazaki Distillery is the oldest and one of the first distillery to begin production of whisky going all the way back to the mid 1920’s.
My girlfriend Rebecca discovered the Yamazaki brand before me, and I was fortunate enough to learn more about it from her. I am of course speaking about the most affordable bottle of the brand, the Yamazaki 12. Its a great whisky, very much comparable to those great scotches to come out of Scotland. The Yamazaki 12 has recently gone up in price from the standard one of around $100 to as high as $180 per bottle, but don’t let those prices fool you. You can still find the 12 at around $99.99 in many different places all over NYC for sure, even in the smaller boroughs, and I would imagine at other cities and states around the US.
The first time my gf introduced me to the 12 year, I absolutely fell in love with it. It was still early in my whisky experiences, and I was still getting to know the difference between peaty and unpeated, cask strength, abv, independent bottlers, etc. But let me tell you, the 12 is probably in my honest opinion what most Scotch whisky’s should aspire to taste like.
The Nose: Zesty, Fruity, Nutty, Spicey
Taste: Smooth with a hint of warm spices. Very pleasant does not overpower the general taste buds.
Finish: Fruity, long and just right.
So I just described the 12 but the picture is off the 18 right? well yes that’s true. The 12 is a baseline of what to expect with the 18 year. My friends have given me some iffy advice about the 18. Some said it was great, while others made some good points as to why it was worse than the 12. One of those was that this particular whisky first was made 18 years ago. So it was part of the first experiments as to get the best balance and palate together. The 12 had 6 years of practice after the 18, so the 12 is obviously better, you can say right ? Wrong!
The 18 is def something spectacular, and the Japanese got it right the first time around. We tasted the Japanese at our favorite bar in Ditmas Park area of Brooklyn, at Wheated. http://wheatedbrooklyn.com/. We were headed towards the end of our night there, one of the many nights we spend there. The owner David asked if we would like to try the Yamazaki 18 year. He told us the price of the 1oz pour, and we just could not say no. Who says no to the Yamazaki 18! Upon just letting the Yamazaki hit our lips, we knew we were in love with it. It was one of those love at first taste kind of things I guess. Right up there with the Bowmore 25.( Our favorite whisky at this moment).
The Price: Whoa, a bottle of this retails somewhere around $450-$500. Good luck finding it cheaper. Is it worth the price ? Possibly. But with the 12 being a little bit on the just as good side, I would splurge more on getting more bottles of the 12 at the $100 price tag. But if you want something elegant and refined and can afford it, def get a bottle of this, or two, or three, or whatever you can afford before having to take out a second mortgage on your third house.
The Nose: Very similar notes to its companion, nutty, zesty, spicy, but there is also a hint of sherry. We all love Whisky in Sherry Casks. It just give that nose something more convincing. Something down right beautiful.
Taste: Earthy and Oaky notes with a hint of zest and you can def taste the sherry.
Finish: Zesty long finish. Just delightful.
Rebecca and I love this batch. One day we will have to add it to our collection. Until that day I bid you farewell you beautiful dram.