The Yamazaki is Japan’s most popular single malt whisky; it is also the most exported Japanese whisky, the most award-winning whisky, the most famous whisky, the most, frankly, everything whisky! First sold in 1984 it has since then become a world renowned, being named the best whisky in the world by so many that there is no point arguing about it anymore.

The standard line-up consists of 12, 18, and 25-year-olds. A 35 Year Old was once released in limited quantities, as well as a mere 50 bottles being released of a 50 Year Old. Should you be an avid collector of old whisky, luckily, we at dekantā have a bottle of 35 Year Old. We’re yet to stumble across the 50 Year Old, however. Evidently, these bottles are out of the reach of most, and as such, we will focus on the more common bottles, being the 12 Year Old, the 18 Year Old and the limited edition.

Yamazaki 12 Year Old

What’s to say about this bottle that has not been said before? The Yamazaki 12 Year Old is a bestseller here at dekantā and is so popular that it would be no exaggeration to say we spend a good amount of time stocking up on it. It has won at least five gold medals at international competitions (including a double gold), and is, in short, pretty fantastic! If you like whisky, you love this. Period.

Nose: Cinnamon and apple are the first smells that come to mind.
Palate: Body is medium. Vanilla and apple come to mind. Wonderfully sweet.
Finish: Some pineapple notes, we’d say. Not too long; not too short.

Yamazaki 18 Year Old

The Yamazaki 18 Year Old could very well be named ‘the king of Japanese whisky’, as it has won so many awards, putting others to shame. Since 2003, this bottle has won gold every year since, with the exception of 2004. In total, it has collected some 13 awards. It is also a favorite of ours at dekantā, as it is, in one word, stunning!

Nose: Thick, oily, and sweet. We can spend hours smelling it!
Palate: Very agreeable texture. Some nuts, honey, and smokiness, too.
Finish: Long and dry (in a good sense), complex, and very enjoyable.

We can’t recommend this whisky enough, nor can judges at all of the whisky competitions!

Yamazaki Limited Edition

This limited edition was released by Suntory in 2014, and again in 2015. The limited edition is a blend of several single malt Yamazaki whiskies. We haven’t actually tried it, with supplies being rare, but we’re told that it’s pretty fantastic!

Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2016

The media is going nuts over this one! The Yamazaki 2016 Sherry Cask was released on Monday, February 1st, 2016, and people are, in one word, ecstatic! This bottle is officially considered the best whisky on the planet. It made headlines in the press in early 2015 when it was selected by The Whisky Bible in 2015, and consequently sold out exceptionally fast. In total, 5,000 bottles were produced of the 2016 version. Bottled at 48%, the difference between this and the 2013 version is mainly the fact that the youngest whisky in the blend has been aged for two more years, and that’s never hurt a blend thus far! And while we’d love to tell you every detail on how it tastes, we can’t, as we have not dared touch it yet!

Henry Baldvin