Single malt whisky - tasting notes

26 Mar 2012

Yamazaki 25 years

Tasting notes by Ruben Luyten - Posted in * Japan

Yamazaki whiskyThe Yamazaki 25 years is a premium member of the Suntory range (topped by a 35yo and a 50yo that’s worth € 9.500), with only around 12.000 bottles available each year. This expression appeared in 1999.

Although the 2010 batch I’m trying today is probably not the batch that won the prize for best single malt in the World Whiskies Awards 2012, I’m still eager to find out what’s so special about this particular Yamazaki. It has an amazingly dark colour.



Yamazaki 25 yearsYamazaki 25 yo (43%, OB +/- 2010)

Nose: a great showcase of sherry aromas, especially figs poached in red wine, cooked plums and red fruit jam. Cocoa. Some roasted notes, hints of smoke even, and warm leather. Faint herbal notes and an oriental sandalwood note. Thick, jammy, very lovely. Mouth: ouch. Hints of dried fruits at first, but it’s quickly overtaken by a deep sourness of oak, balsamic vinegar and cigar juices. Nice spicy notes though (especially cinnamon). Something of bitter oranges and over-infused rosehip tea. Sour cherries. Quite high on tannins as well. Tobacco. Impressive intensity for a relatively low alcohol volume, but too woody and sour. Finish: long. Plenty of sourness from the oak (rather than an oaky dryness).


Could it be that the recent batch is better? Yes, of course. But I’m afraid it’s another example of an award-winning whisky marred by batch variation and the lack of clear communication about the winning batch (Whisky Magazine even enhances it by linking to a very lukewarm review of the 2006 batch from the award pages). Yamazaki doesn’t seem to have consistent bottling codes by the way. Between € 450 (Swedish Systembolaget) and € 750 (European stores) but it seems to be out of stock everywhere.

Score: 87/100

Yamazaki 25 years 3.5 Ruben Luyten 2012-03-26
  • Joshua Feldman

    That dense color is alluring – but experience has taught me to fear it. Over oaked – or over sherry-oaked is the fear; and it sounds as if the fear is justified in this case… a pity. Thanks for another excellent post, Ruben.

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November 2015
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Coming up

  • Lindores 2015 festival bottling
  • Amrut 2009 (cask #2701)
  • Glenlivet 1981 (#9468 for TWE)
  • Lagavulin Distillers Edition (2015)
  • Talisker Distillers Edition (2015)
  • Laphroaig 32 Year Old
  • Glen Grant 65yo 1950 cask #2747 for Wealth Solutions
  • Mortlach 1959/1960 (G&M Royal Wedding)

1930 notes by Ruben

WhiskyNotes - Ruben LuytenThis blog is my personal collection of impressions, written while searching for the ultimate single malt whisky.