Yamazaki is between Osaka and Kyoto, Japan’s first whisky distillery built by Shinjiro Torii. It has 6 different stills all of different shapes and sizes. There are different estimates around how many different styles of malts produced here puts them around 120 – but no one knows for certain. The distillery is owned by Suntory – one of the world whisky giants.
Nose: Bready, with some very clear barley notes, papaya, marmelade, and tomato chutney. Also in the mix we have some light floral notes like jasmine, peach, apple, and cinnamon. 27/30 (90%)
Taste: Quite full, with a focus on buttery barley which is quite magnificent in my opinion. There’s also oak and some fruit in the background, nicely placed around the barley. Very light tannin in the mix as well. The mouthfeel is smooth, though not too thick. 27.5/30 (91%)
Finish: Cinnamon, barley, pear, with a slow light cleansing character. The flavour has a decent size to it, with bitterness that fades away leaving more of a creamy, slightly sweet, barley character. 17.5/20 (88%)
Conclusion: I’ve never tasted a whisky which so clearly shows barley in a manner as close to the plain cooked grain as this one. Buttery barley, balanced by pear, vanilla, oak, and light tannin to give an edge. Nicely done. 18.5 (93%)