I first had the Yamazaki 12 Year Old Single Malt Whisky five years ago, when I attended my first Scotch Malt Whisky Society Extravaganza event at The Union League in Philadelphia. Since that first tasting, I have had this whisky on numerous occasions, but I’ve never had the opportunity to sit down and have it on its own. Since The Wookie was kind enough to lend me his bottle of this whisky, I can finally write up a proper review.
Here is what Suntory has to say about their Yamazaki 12…
Both Suntory YAMAZAKI 12- and 18- year old single malts are aged in casks of three different kinds of oaks: American, Spanish and Japanese. This gives Suntory Whisky its unique quality. Each drink has a distinct taste. The 12 year old expression is a medium-bodied whisky with the aromas of dried fruits and honey. It has a delicate, mellow taste with a lingering, woody, dry finish.
And now for my WAY overdue review…
- Appearance: Pale amber color. After giving it a swirl, thick, slow moving legs form and creep down the inside of the glass.
- Aroma: Honey. Light brown sugar. Vanilla. Some floral notes. Very little smoke. A bit of alcohol sting when you nose it at full strength. Adding a healthy dose of water brings out subtle herbal notes and a hint of cinnamon.
- Taste: Oily mouthfeel that’s very slick and slippery on your tongue. Starts off with some very mild smokiness. Subtle cinnamon spiciness kicks in towards mid-palate. Coats the front and sides of your tongue with a slightly drying, herbal finish. The finish also delivers some anise and licorice. Adding water actually intensifies the spiciness and brings out some black pepper notes for a tongue tingling and lingering finish.
- ABV: 43%
Now that I’ve taken the time to drink the Yamazaki 12 on its own, I can finally appreciate how wonderfully complex and flavorful this whisky truly is. The Yamazaki 12 is the polar opposite of Koyanisqatsi! It has everything that you would expect in a well crafted whisky (i.e. sweet, smoky, spicy, etc.), but without any particular element taking center stage. To call it well-balanced would be an understatement. And if all of that weren’t enough, The Yamazaki 12 is also an exceptional value (prices range between $38 and $50 for a 750ml bottle). This is a spirit that every Whisk(e)y lover should try at least once in their lifetime. Well done Suntory!