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Review #43 The Yamazaki 12yr: Japanese

Updated: Jul 2, 2020

Score: 8.2/ 10

Distillery: Suntory / Yamazaki

Type: Japanese Single Malt

When it comes to Japanese Whiskey, Suntory and Nikka in my opinion make best whiskey brands.If you are looking to dive into Japanese whiskey (made and blended similar to scotch), I would start there. Although you need to have a bankroll these days to get them as they have grown very popular. That was before this post, so don’t blame Po It Up whiskey podcast for any price increases!

I personally found all of this out the hard way when I visited Japan for work. At the time I didn’t know a ton about whisky and had done a lot of research. After countless hours, I narrowed it down specifically to Yamazaki 18yr old. I was going to find this and bring it back to the US. Well, I did find it….. for $800. I was crushed as even in Japan it’s not too common. There was no way I could do that price though. Disgruntled, I picked up the Nikka NAS Pure Malt Instead.

I proceeded to watch video reviews of the Yamazaki 18 and hearing people rate it 4’s – 4.5’s (keep in mind at this point in time I thought that Yamazaki 18 might be the best whiskey in the world. Period.). Upset by the ratings. I eventually decided that I did make the best decision. There is no whiskey on the planet worth $800 if you are planning to drink it.

All of this led to me eventually picking up and trying the 12yr brethren that is reviewed below. However, I will admit, this actually is not one of my favorites. Hence the lower score. I personally enjoy Suntory’s Hibiki line more than the Yamazaki, but almost everyone seems to disagree with me.

Whiskey Review:

Nose: Nutty, floral, very light cigar, tropical fruit, and a stronger than normal ethanol for a 12yr whisky

Palate: oak, tobacco, sweet banana, tropical and citrus fruit, cardboard or paper notes.

Finish: Medium. However, it seems longer because of some alcohol burn, banana, tobacco, fruits, rum, and a very subtle dark chocolate

Score: 8.2


S+ Sensational - The Pinnacle (9.5+)

A - AXEceptional (astounding) (9-9.5)

B - bravo (step aBove average) (8-8.9)

C - competent (7-7.9)

D - disappointing (6-6.9)

F - flush it down the toilet (fail) (5.9 below)

Notes: Availability? Uncommon to Rare. You will need to seek this out in the USA, but you can find stores with it on the shelf. Prices swing wildly from around $119 - $179.

If you add some ice to this whisky, it brings out a larger chocolate and replaces the tobacco. If this happens to sound more like your palette, give that a try.

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