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Distilled Spirits: Yamazaki 12 YO Whiskey Gold From Japan

I bought this bottle a long time ago for a party, freshly opened I found the very odd, it had a strong sweetness and taste of caramel and about an equally strong bitter tannin taste and this yielded some sort of flat taste curve of sorts. It didn’t linger and you was left with just this dry tannin taste.

Yamazaki12YO_002

Now, however, it has been on the shelf for a few months at about 70% of content left and I tried this again last night and I must say I was very positively surprised, It had developed a very nice round sweet taste with some sort of vanilla mixed with some fruity jelly candy tastes and the nose felt very developed with first having very much orange peel -citrus smell after a while. Definitely one of my favorites now!

This 12 year old from Yamazaki first came onto the market in 1984 and was the first seriously marketed Japanese single malt whisky.


Nose: Good body with plenty of nut oils and zest, a pleasant floral character with a little tropical fruit and a rooty note.

Palate: Smooth and soft with good sweetness and winter spice. A lovely citrus note develops with more tropical fruit notes and a little rum.

Finish: Medium with fruit and zest.

Yamazaki Distillery

The Yamazaki distillery was Japan’s first malt whisky distillery. Established in 1923 by Shinjro Torii, spirit first ran from the still on the 11th Novemeber 1924. The buildings stand between Osaka and Kyoto, in the blissful serenity of the Vale of Yamazaki. The whisky distillery is part of the Suntory brand and houses twelve stills of three different varieties. This allows Yamazaki to produce the range of flavours necessary for Suntory’s blended whiskies. It is very difficult to source whisky for blending in Japan; there are two parent companies: Nikka and Suntory. Between the two they own almost every distillery in Japan, thus there is little exchange between different distilleries. The Yamazaki Twelve Year-Old was launched in 1984 and stands as the first properly marketed single malt in Japan.

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