Yamazaki 12 Year

World Whisky Review #16: Yamazaki 12 Year

Distillery: Yamazaki

Region: Osaka, Japan

ABV: 43%

Age: 12 Year

Price: $85

Color: 1.2, Chestnut / Oloroso Sherry. Unfortunately it is chill filtered and has had color added.


Nose (according to the wife): Sweet! It’s really sweet and really bright. The sweetness comes in the form of some grapes and pineapples. Really nice to smell.

Palate: Much like the nose teases, there are some lovely fruits in the form of pineapple, lemons (thinking both zest and rind), yuzu, and some golden raisins. They start off a bit tart and then move on to a nice sweetness. After the fruits, there are some spices—both oak and something else I can’t place—lingering in the back along with a bit of something salty. I was thinking along the lines a bit of ponzu sauce, especially since there seems to be some citrus in here as well.

Finish: A bit short. There’s a bit of creaminess and nuttiness but not a whole lot going on here.

Conclusion: I couldn’t believe when I found this bottle on the shelf in Omaha. The store owner said it was the only one he had gotten for the year and had put it up an hour or two before I walked in. The nose is really inviting and bright. It really teases the fruit-y notes that make up the palate which were lovely. While the fruit-y notes are nice, the ponzu sauce was something that I thought that made this different and interesting. The finish falls flat on its face; there’s not a lot going on and it’s a bit of a disappointment. Overall, it’s really nice to drink and is interesting but definitely has some room to improve. At the price this goes on the second hand market ($100+?), this would be a hard, hard pass. At $85, I wouldn’t buy it twice. If it were $60-70, I think this would be a staple I’d keep around.

Final Score: 82

World whisky review #16, Japanese review #8, Whisky Network Review #71


Scoring Legend:

  • 96-100: The perfect dram, nectar of the gods.
  • 90-95: Near perfect, there is something truly special about this whisky.
  • 85-89: Amazing, will always try to keep a bottle of this in my collection.
  • 80-84: Very Good, maybe only one minor nitpick about the whisky keeping it here.
  • 75-79: Good, quite enjoyable to drink.
  • 70-74: Solid, wouldn’t go out of my way to get it.
  • 60-69: Meh, still drinkable.
  • Below 59: If you have a bottle of this, start cooking with it instead.

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