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Yamazaki 12 Single Malt


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#1 AVB

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Posted 26 April 2008 - 08:18 PM

Yamazaki 12 yo Single Malt Whisky, box packaging, 750 ml, 86 proof, available nationwide.

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Part of a nice bomb from Smokin' Sims, the Yamazaki 12 yo Single Malt from Suntory Limited in Japan, is one of the few Japanese Single Malts available in the US. Yamazaki is the oldest whisky distillery in Japan having been founded in 1923. Other Japanese whisky distillers are Hakushu, also owned by Suntory, Yoichi and Sendai owned by Nikka and three small independent distilleries Gotemba, Karutzawa, and Toa Shuzo

"The man who was responsible for bringing whisky making to Japan was Masataka Taketsuru, the son of a saké-making family. He attended college in Scotland and even worked briefly at Scotch distilleries. He took his passion and ideas (along with his Scottish wife) back with him to Japan and helped Suntory create the Yamazaki distillery.

While touring the Yamazaki distillery recently, whisky blender Shinji Fukuyo told me the relationship between Taketsuru and Suntory was short-lived. Mr. Taketsuru was interested in producing scotch-style (i.e., very smoky) whisky in Japan. The first whisky—simply called “White Label”—had plenty of peat smoke and didn’t fare well with the Japanese consumer. The product was discontinued, and Masataka Taketsuru eventually moved on to help establish the Yoichi distillery. " (taken from an article "Suntory Rising" by John Hansell)

Yamazaki has 12 stills of varying size and shape to create different types of whisky for their blends. As with Scottish distilleries, only a very small part is used for their single malt. Aging is done in American ex-bourbon barrels, Spanish sherry barrels and something unique to Japan, Japanese oak used only for finishing due to the limited supply.

While similar to a speyside malt Yamazaki seems to have a a slightly different sweetness and spices. The nose is a touch lemony, soft and sweet. Tasting is spicier then the nose would have you believe with nutmeg and brown sugar along for the ride. The finish is medium long with a clean fruity end before the alcohol completes the finish.

An interesting malt that can compete with the mid-range from Scotland but needs a ways to go before it takes on the upper tier. That takes place in the 18 yo version which can go head to head with most of the speysides IMO.

#2 sigar_zealot

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Posted 26 April 2008 - 10:51 PM

I have a bottle of this on my shelf. I think it holds its own for it's price point but haven't spent the money to try the 18 year, yet. The bottle makes for some interesting conversation when friends come over for a drink, similar to the 70cl bottles from your buys. I see people scratching their heads. Lol

Very interesting review. Thanks for taking the time Ray.

#3 souldog

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Posted 26 April 2008 - 11:28 PM

Excellent review! Very informative on the history behind this particular scotch, ditto in saying thank you for the time sir!

:thumbs:

The nutmeg and brown sugar sounds tasty IMHO.

#4 lucasbuck

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 02:07 PM

Great review AVB. I'm intrigued so I'll have to see if I can find a bottle. James (Smokin' Sims) has told me he really enjoyed many of the Japanese Whiskeys when he was living over there. Nice of him to send you a bottle so I could read your review!

#5 GregSVT

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 04:53 PM

My local has the 12 and the 18. Looks like I'll have to try this one out as I love Speysides. Thanks for the review.

#6 Smokin'Sims

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 05:45 PM

Craig,
There are online shops that you can order it from, but they won't ship to Utah. I got the bottle I sent in Dallas. You can also get it in Reno and Denver. I don't know about Idaho. AVB had mentioned in this thread in BD (before deletion) time that you can get it at Sam's but that will vary from state to state I think.

Edited by Smokin'Sims, 02 May 2008 - 05:46 PM.


#7 MoeCizlak

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Posted 18 September 2010 - 10:52 AM

Tried this at a bar this week. It was very good and mellow. It almost reminded me of a fuller-bodied Irish whisky by it's smoothness but had more depth of flavor than the Irish whiskies I've had. Very good and a pleasure after dinner drink.

#8 classyndry

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Posted 24 October 2010 - 12:38 PM

I believe I picked up my bottle of this from a scotch buy a while back. This was before I could get it locally, which now is possible. What initially caught my eye was that it is distributed by Suntory, which I found amusing having recently seen the movie, lost in translation. I don't know what I was expecting, I may have had no expectations, but I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this scotch. It reminded me of macallan 12 in that it was pretty easy drinking, but certainly interesting enough to hold my attention. I don't remember the flavor profile being similar, so it probably was not, but I haven't had it in some time. I don't expect to try the 18 soon since it is not high on my lost list of bottles I'd like to buy, but the 12 was definitely an experience, and well worth the price of admission.

#9 vortex

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Posted 24 October 2010 - 09:19 PM

Thanks, Ray!

#10 sigar_zealot

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Posted 24 October 2010 - 09:32 PM

I enjoyed this scotch.



Sorry but this is Japanese Single Malt Whisky, not Scotch.

#11 C-Note

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 02:35 PM


I enjoyed this scotch.



Sorry but this is Japanese Single Malt Whisky, not Scotch.


Surely we can all agree that calling Yamazaki "scotch" is, albeit colloquially if not technically, permissible. If you choose to place your order for "a glass of Yamazaki Japanese Single Malt Whisky", I certainly applaud your accuracy--as for me, I'll ask the barman for Yamazaki Scotch.

This stuff is damned good for the price point and I'm happy to find it locally available.

#12 AVB

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 02:46 PM

The term you are looking for is WHISKEY, Japanese Whiskey or Japanese SMW (Single Malt Whiskey). Anyway you want to pour it, it is pretty good.

#13 sigar_zealot

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 08:36 PM

The term you are looking for is WHISKEY, Japanese Whiskey or Japanese SMW (Single Malt Whiskey). Anyway you want to pour it, it is pretty good.


Color me blind!
I see no "E" on that WHISKY bottle. :sign:

Okay, I'm done being a smarta$$.




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