It’s Day 7 of Christmas Countdown and today we’re looking at a very special range of bottles from one of the best whisky producing distilleries in the whole of Japan. This distillery is famous for their exquisite releases, many of which are seen as the pinnacle of Asian whisky production, and their bottles are sought after around the globe. Of course, we’re talking about Yamazaki and today we’ll be focusing on their Limited Edition Series. So without further ado, let’s get into it.
The Yamazaki Distillery is one that every fan of whisky, whether it be Japanese, Scotch or any other variant, will know well.
Founded in 1923, on the outskirts of Kyoto, Japan’s ancient capital, Yamazaki is the oldest commercial whisky distillery in Japan. Throughout the years they have developed an incredible knowledge and understanding of whisky production, honing their skills and expertise, resulting in some of the tastiest expressions to ever grace our whisky glasses.
Originally managed by the legendary Masataka Taketsuru, “The Father of Japanese Whisky” and founder of Nikka, Yamazaki’s fate was promising from the get-go.
Taketsuru’s role there lasted just 10 years but in that time his unparalleled knowledge of the industry was passed down to many others within the distillery, setting them up for a long and prosperous future.
Throughout these early years, even with a master such as Taketsuru at the helm, the distillery struggled, along with Japanese whisky in general, and it would be decades before the work of the legendary whisky expert would pay dividends.
Eventually, people around the world sat up and took notice of Japanese whisky and the spirit exploded onto the international market.
Yamazaki’s deep-rooted history and unrivalled level of experience propelled them to immediate global success, with their expressions being lauded by whisky critics and fans in all corners of the globe.
Today, their releases are seen as some of the best in the world and the huge number of awards that their expressions have picked up do a good job of highlighting this. Countless World Whisky Awards, among a whole variety of other Gold, Silver and Bronze medals at international spirits competitions, point directly towards the quality of these whiskies and there are none more exciting than their Limited Edition range.
The Yamazaki Limited Edition range was launched in 2014 and immediately soared in popularity. Only available in duty free shops, this was a whisky that was hard to get your hands on and fans around the world clambered to be one of the first to get a taste.
The 2015, 2016 and 2017 releases were equally as limited and equally as sought after, so it came us a surprise when Yamazaki announced that they would not be releasing a 2018 bottling and the range was to be discontinued, for the time being at least.
This was incredibly disappointing news for Japanese whisky-lovers, who had also lost their beloved Hibiki 17 and cherished Hakushu 12 in the same year, but thankfully the limited releases up to this point are still available.
Each of the whiskies is a premium single malt made up from a variety of different vintages, aged in different wood types, before being brought together for bottling. The results are a series of hugely complex and sophisticated whiskies that allow the consumer to explore the processes and talent of the Yamazaki distillery and deliver a tasting experience like no other.
All of the releases, whether that be 2014, 2015, 2016 or 2017 are a pleasure to taste and each of them is extremely limited in quantity due to their popularity. That means that they are not only some of the best Japanese whisky releases of years gone by, but they are also collectible and sure to increase in value as time passes and supply fades.
The sheer quality, popularity and range of awards that the expressions in this exhilarating series have picked up means that they full deserve their place in our 2018 Christmas Countdown.