Review No.45. Yamazaki 12 Year Old

Apparently, for relaxing times, make it Suntory times… or make that Yamazaki time.  This is Suntory’s flagship single malt alongside the Hakushu range – which I think doesn’t get the attention it deserves.  The Yamazaki characteristic is the opposite to Hakushu’s delicate, floral and lightly peated characteristics.  This one is more about the darker rich fruits which you would normally associate with many speyside single malts.  As with many Japanese whiskies, this one is in demand and I doubt you will be able to find the 12 year old variant but you can get hold of a distillers reserve edition – but I can’t tell you anything about that one as I have not tried it.  The older version of this, the Yamazaki 18 year old won some major awards about 10 years ago and I believe it was that single malt which set the tone for what we are seeing now in terms of reputation, demand and prices for Japanese whisky.


Whisky: Yamazaki 12 Year Old Single Malt Whisky, 43% vol.

Nose: Dried fruits, citrus, pineapple, spice

Taste: Cinnamon, tropical fruit mix, citrus rind, spice, oak

Finish: Tropical fruit and oak

Score: 3.75

Summary: This has a really nice tropical fruit and spice combination going on, not only on the aroma but also on the taste and aftertaste and yet there is something delicate in the way in which the experience is delivered.  It is at 43% volume too, which can come across as being too hot or too tepid for single malts but for this I feel like it is just right.  I found it to be dangerously easy drinking and can see why the brand is held with high regard.  However, due to the lack of availability and price I would purchase with caution.  I just don’t think it is a £80-£100+ bottle.  Maybe try to distiller’s reserve first if you are really interested.



Scoring scale: My scores reflect a balance of the overall experience, availability and cost for a whisky,

1 – not to my preference

2 – tastes fine but does not excite me

3 – more to my liking and would revisit occasionally

4 – very much to my liking and would consider as a regular feature on my whisky shelf

5 – permanent feature on my whisky shelf


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