The first time I tried Yamazaki 18yo (at Spirits in the Sky four years ago), I immediately bought a bottle. Now’s the time to pay homage to this Japanese classic. One of my all-time favourites when it comes to (relatively affordable) Japanese whisky, although the price has taken a big hike since it won a couple of awards.
Yamazaki 18 is composed of toasted American oak sherry puncheons, European oak sherry butts and Japanese Mizunara oak puncheons.
Yamazaki 18 yo (43%, OB 2008, L8CP3)
Nose: very very smooth, with a great interaction of chocolate, raisins and oak polish (maybe even a little glue). Soft vanilla. Luscious fruity notes, both dried (dates) and fresh (red fruits). Rather oriental as well: hints of baklava and incense, with a wonderful dampness. Herbal tea. Leather. Hints of dark rum. Syrup.
Mouth: quite oaky now (with a resulting sourness) but this adds to the oriental character. Dried fruits (dates, prunes) freshened with citrus peel. Caramel. Creamy sherry notes. Bramble and honey. Tobacco.
Finish: balanced sweet / dry and medium long. Maybe a hint of smoke?
A top quality dram, full of Japanese character but very rounded as well, which is slightly less common for Nippon whisky. No surprise it wins so many awards, this is highly recommended.
Be sure to shop around, because I’ve seen prices between € 85 and € 135 from retailers that usually have a similar price setting.