Yamazaki 18 YO, 43 %
I just could not help myself. Although I reviewed it back in 2014 (see old review), I had to do another review of the now very rare Yamazaki 18 YO. If only I had known in 2014 how rare it would become, I would have hoarded a few cases. The Yamazaki 18 YO is still a part of the Yamazaki core range though, as witnessed here, and I do hope we will see it more readily available over the coming years as Suntory rebuild warehouse stock.
The Yamazaki 18 YO has been matured in a mix of bourbon, sherry and mizunara casks.
If you do manage to come across a bottle online, it will probably set you back GBP 350 – 400. That is a lot more than it used to cost, but I would say it is still worth it.
Nose: Dried fruits, orchard fruits and tropical fruits side by side. In other words it is most certainly fruity. Light and dark at the same time. Cinnamon and incense. There is a tempered oakiness here, like a spice in itself. Homemade caramel pudding, with rich caramel sauce. If I “dig” deeper I also find sandal wood, nougat, strawberries and hints of coffee.
Taste: Rich and full-bodied. Creamy with honey and caramel. Soft spices – white pepper and cinnamon. Not as fruity as the nose, but I still find apples and some dried fruits.
Finish: Long finish, in fact very long. Fizzy as well as creamy in character now. The sweetness is lighter, and is accompanied by an oaky astringency which shimmers in and out of focus. It really does develop in waves. Towards the end the sweetness is more akin to maple syrup and darker honey.
Comments: Probably the best 18 YO whisky I have ever tasted.
Image from Master of Malt.