Yamazaki 12 Year Old

Yamazaki 12 Year Old

This week we’ll only post reviews of whiskies that are part of the 20 whiskies that changed the world selection, a great set composed by The Whisky Exchange.

Suntory really built the foundations of the Japanese whisky industry, and Yamazaki 12 Year Old is the whisky that started the boom. The expression was introduced in the 1980s and became Japan’s most popular single malt. It landed in the UK and other countries in 2001, where it soon picked up gold medals in different competitions.

Yamazaki 12 is a mix of American oak, Spanish oak and Japanese oak casks. It became the victim of its own success: currently smaller quantities are released while the distillery is reinforcing its stocks.


Yamazaki 12 yo (43%, OB +/- 2021)

Nose: fruity and sweet, with plenty of red apples, hints of marzipan, rice wine and a slightly synthetic, glue-like note. Slightly blossomy, perfumed even, like jasmin tea. Subtle hints of white grapes and dried flowers.

Mouth: a similar mix of (stewed) apples, pear compote and floral notes, or rather fragrant oak. A hint of vanilla, light caramel, fruit cake and bubblegum. Green melons and grapes again. Honey as well. It’s quite sweet, a bit docile and somehow quite feminine in style.

Finish: medium, on aromatic tea, apples and wood shavings.

A pioneering Japanese whisky, and a decent one. Very elegant and refined (a bit too soft perhaps), with plenty of floral notes and oriental touches. Its current retail price is quite heavy though, and not necessarily in check with the quality it has to offer. A sample is the perfect way to get acquainted. You can get the full set from The Whisky Exchange.