Since its introduction in 2018, the Essence of Suntory series has been hugely popular with Japanese whisky lovers around the world. The four volumes released thus far have offered a fresh, unique take on Japanese whisky, bringing everything from Spanish oak matured Yamazaki to a delicious take on rice whisky. It’s this exciting, eclectic approach that has made the series so popular and so it’s no surprise that Suntory are sticking with it for Volume 5, released this week.
The new volume, titled Malt Mania, includes two Yamazaki whiskies that were created using some intriguing types of malted barley, allowing drinkers to explore the effects that base ingredients have on the characteristics of a whisky.
The first of the two bottlings was created using Golden Promise barley, famously used by the legendary Karuizawa distillery, while the second bottle in Volume 5 was created using peated Islay barley. The use of these different types of malt have allowed Suntory to create two Yamazaki single malts as you have never seen them before, and they’re quite a treat.
Let’s take a deeper look.
Essence of Suntory Yamazaki Golden Promise
Distilled at Yamazaki using Golden Promise barley, made famous by the iconic Macallan and Karuizawa distilleries, this fine expression was distilled in 2009 and matured in American Oak casks for 11 years before bottling. The use of Golden Promise has resulted in a whisky that is smooth and soft on the nose, before becoming much fuller and richer on the palate.
It brings sweet malt, honey and gentle aromas of citrus fruits on the nose, before the palate arrives with rich fruits, oak, cinnamon spice and hints of black pepper. The finish is long, with a creamy mouthfeel and hints of gentle, chocolatey sweetness mingling perfectly with sharp citrus fruits.
It’s a truly fine whisky that offers drinkers another angle on Yamazaki whisky to explore and it leaves us longing for another dram time and time again.
Essence of Suntory Yamazaki Islay Peated Barley
The second bottle in this volume was also distilled at Yamazaki and matured for 11 years in American Oak casks, however this one differs in that it was distilled from Optic barley that was dried using Islay peat. The results are a unique and delicious expression that is one of few peated Yamazaki whiskies on the market.
You can expect intense peat smoke on the nose that mingles with salty sea spray, freshly cut grass and gentle citrus notes that linger in the background. On the palate, the peat smoke is still apparent but not quite what it was on the nose, with the sweetness of orange zest, vanilla and pear drops making themselves known. The finish is long and smooth, as we expect from aged Yamazaki whiskies, and it tops things off in style with sweet oak, honey and freshly sliced vanilla pods all backed up by waves of fragrant peat smoke.
Much like the Golden Promise bottling, it’s a wonderful expression and one that leaves us scouring the internet for more peated Yamazaki whiskies, of which there are few.
The series has gone for something of a minimalist, modern approach throughout when it comes to labelling, and they continue that trend here through beautiful white, black and gold modern art that would make these bottles stand out in even the most impressive of collections.
It’s clear that Suntory want the bottles to look as eclectic on the outside as they taste on the inside and we are delighted to say they have achieved that once again.
Both of these fine new whiskies once again highlight the skill and knowledge of those working at Japan’s most famous operational distillery. Whether they’re working with bourbon casks, sherry casks, peated barley or unpeated barley, they seem to be able to create truly outstanding expressions that help the drinker to further their knowledge and understanding of the different elements that are involved in the whisky making process.
What’s more, they provide us with the opportunity to try two exciting new age-statement Yamazaki whiskies, which, with the on-going whisky shortage, don’t come around very often.
To get your hands on these limited edition bottles, order online today. Quantities are limited, so it’s worth acting fast if you want to add this stunning new release to your whisky cabinet.