About The Distillery

The Yamazaki distillery is Japans oldest commercial whisky distillery. It was opened by Shinjiro Torii, the founder of Suntory, in 1923 in Yamazaki on the outskirts of Kyoto, Japan’s ancient capital.

The location was chosen because of the excellent water supply in the area. The climate is also diverse with relatively cold winters and hot, humid summers, which makes it suitable for the production and maturation of whisky. The distillery is located near a notable Shinto shrine called Minase. Historically, a famous tea master based his operation in the vicinity as the water was thought to be of outstanding quality.

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For the first 10 years, Yamazaki was managed by the legendary Masataka Taketsuru, the “Father of Japanese Whisky” and the founder of Nikka Whisky. Taketsuru actually wanted to open the distillery in Hokkaido as he believed the climate there was most similar to the Scottish climate. Torii, however, feared that transportation costs would be too high and opted for Yamazaki instead.

Its first product was the Shirofuda, or “white label,” named so after the colour of the label. The Shirofuda appeared on the market in 1929. The reception was slightly disappointing; Japanese drinkers were unused to the strong taste of whisky and turned their backs on it. It wasn’t until 1937 that a whisky the Japanese would truly appreciate arrived. This was called Suntory Kabunin (“square bottle”), which is still widely sold to this day. Despite the success of Kabunin, the whisky industry was still operating at a loss, but this would change with the arrival of war. The Japanese army and navy were mad for whisky and demanded that Torii supply them with the spirit. He did and saw his fortunes turn. After the war, the U.S. army proved no less a fan of whisky and Torii continued to sell well. Business was booming, and the Yamazaki distillery was the sole supplier of whisky from Suntory until the Hakushu distillery was opened in 1973.

Today, Yamazaki has the largest market share of single malt whisky in Japan. The 18 year old Yamazaki single malt is thought by many to be the best whisky in the world and has for example won six consecutive double gold medals at the San Francisco Spirits Competition from 2008 to 2013. It also won a gold medal at the International Spirits Challenge in London in 2003. And in 2010 Suntory itself was named best whisky maker in the world.

The distillery is open for visitors and offers guided tours in Japanese and English. Around 7000 bottles of unblended whisky are on display in its whisky library. The museum also includes a section covering the history of Japanese whisky and a barrel factory shop with whiskies that can only be bought at the distillery.

Essential Yamazaki Bottles

Mainstay Bottles In Every Collection.

Yamazaki 12 Year Old

Just $149.99

The Essence of Suntory Whisky – Yamazaki Peated Malt 2018

Just $549.99

Suntory Yamazaki Distiller’s Reserve

Just $99.99

Suntory Yamazaki Limited Edition 2017

Just $299.99

Yamazaki 12 Years Old – Black Box 2018

Just $149.99

Yamazaki Pure Malt Whisky Saxophone

Just $379.99

Yamazaki 18 Year Old

Just $679.99

Yamazaki 12 Year Old “Watami President Choice”

Just $569.99

Yamazaki Bourbon Barrel 2013

Just $929.99

Yamazaki Limited Edition 2015

Just $359.99

Yamazaki 12 Year Old Accordion

Just $529.99

Yamazaki Pure Malt 10 Year Old

Just $529.99

Rare & Old Yamazaki Releases

World class whisky that will be a showcase among any collection.

Yamazaki 25 Year Old Bill Amberg

$6,299.99

Yamazaki 35 Year Old

$149,999.99

Yamazaki 50 Year Old

$279,000.00

Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2013

$5,399.99

Yamazaki Pure Malt Aged 12 Years Gold Bottle

$3,299.99

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Yamazaki 25 Year Old

$4,599.99

Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2016

$3,599.99

Yamazaki 18 Year Old Mizunara Edition 2017

$3,999.99

Yamazaki Single Cask 2001 Whisky

$1,799.99

Yamazaki 1960 ‘The Century’ 40 Year Old

$54,999.99

Yamazaki Puncheon 2013

$1,724.99

Yamazaki Heavily Peated 2013

$1,544.99

Yamazaki Single Malt Whisky 1984

$8,699.99

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Yamazaki 25 Year Old Single Malt Rare Limited Edition

$4,699.99

Yamazaki Pure Malt Limited Edition

$1,319.99