Christmas Countdown Day 1 – Yamazaki Sherry Cask

It’s Christmas Eve!!! With the big day just a few hours away we hope all of your last minute shopping has been carried out, you’ve got your Christmas dinner plans prepped and the presents are stacking up under your tree.

Before we get into some whisky, we’d just like to take this moment to say thanks to all of our readers for the year gone by! Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and we’ll chat whisky again in 2019.

As it’s Christmas Eve, and the final day of our 2018 Christmas Countdown, we’re looking at a superb whisky that has achieved legendary status, is sought after around the world and may just be one of the very best expressions ever created (a bold claim we know). Today, we’re looking at the fantastic Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2016 whisky. So without further ado, let’s get into it.

The Yamazaki Distillery

Yamazaki is Japan’s most famous distillery, exploding onto the international market at the beginning of the Japanese whisky boom.

Originally founded in 1923 and managed by Masataka Taketsuru, “The Father of Japanese Whisky”, in the days before he went out on his own and created Nikka Whisky, Yamazaki had a bright future from the start.

Taketsuru’s knowledge and understanding of the water of life brought a level of expertise that no other distillery in the country had at the time. After 10 years at the helm, Taketsuru left Yamazaki, but those that he had passed his knowledge on to ensured that his practices would live on and thus the whisky created there would remain of the highest quality.

It would be several decades before the world took notice of their wonderful creations, but once word got out about the sheer quality of their whisky, there was no going back. The rest, as they say, is history.

Yamazaki Sherry Cask

The Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2016 whisky is possibly the finest release to ever come out of the distillery, and indeed Japan.

Released in February 2016, this premium blend immediately made waves in the industry as critics and fans alike fell in love as soon as they had their first sniff.

It is made up of the same whisky that went into the hugely popular 2013 blend but with an extra 2 years ageing. This spirit was then combined with hand-picked single malts, aged for up to 25 years, and they were married for 3 years in casks that had previously housed Oloroso sherry. The results are truly astounding.

The extra period of maturation has helped to create an unrivalled buttery smooth character that is backed up by deep, rich notes imparted by the Sherry cask.

Unlike many of the world’s most popular whiskies, this one has no-age statement, but if you have tasted it, you’ll know that it really doesn’t matter.

Notes of raisins, sticky dates, toffee pudding and a range of berries combine with very subtle spices to form an overall drinking experience that is as well-balanced as it is delicious.

The Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2013 was awarded World Whisky of the Year in Jim Murray’s lauded Whisky Bible and this edition follows in its predecessors footsteps in terms of style, poise and ultimate quality.

It more than deserves its place here on Day 1 of our 2018 Christmas Countdown. If you haven’t tried this yet, you’ll want to get a taste while stocks last.

Other Yamazaki

The Yamazaki Sherry Cask sits at the top end of distillery’s range, ahead of the 18 Year Old but just behind the incredibly rare 50 Year Old expression.

If these top of the line whiskies are slightly out of your price range, but you’re still keen to get a taste of Yamazaki liquid, there are plenty of other options.

The 18 Year Old has won countless awards including Gold and Double Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition and the Mizunara version also delivers a taste sensation with a slightly different range of notes on offer.

Then there’s the two 12 Year Old expressions. The traditional brown box version has been around for years now but was replaced earlier this year by the new black box edition. Both are worthy investments, with the brown box set to become collectable as it disappears from the market and the black box offering an alternative in style and design. Whatever your preference, you’ll know that the liquid inside is pure gold. 

All of these expressions bring their own range of delectable notes to the table but they all have one thing in common – coming from Yamazaki, they display the expertise and craft passed on by Taketsuru all of those years ago and exhibit an unparalleled smoothness that will will keep you coming back to the bottle for more. Whichever Yamazaki whisky you pick, you won’t be disappointed.

Thanks again for joining us for our 2018 Christmas Countdown, we hope you enjoyed the short series and we’ll be back with more in the New Year.