Yamazaki 12 Year Single Malt Review

Yamazaki 12 Year Review

The main aspect I keep coming back to about this whisky is how sweet it becomes the more you drink it. This is probably due to it being aged in both ex-bourbon and Spanish sherry casks in addition to Japaense oak casks. The first glass was great but progressing through the second one it began to turn almost cloyingly sweet, especially when water was introduced and the bourbon caramel and toffee notes came out. To combat the sweetness and pull the flavors back in I added some ice, but it completely obliterated this whisky.

Despite being a rather burly dram neat it completely falls to pieces in a hurry when ice gets introduced to equation, even when it isn’t preceded by a splash of water. I don’t like to tell people how to drink their whisky, but with this one I would highly recommend it be drank neat. Though definitely experiment with water and ice.

As always, if you’ve tried this innovative Japanese whisky then please add your own tasting notes in the comments below.

Yamazaki 12 Year Single Malt Review

ABV: 43%
Price: $50
Distiller: Yamazaki Distillery

EYE
Watery caramel with some yellow glints to it.

NOSE
Freshly made Rice Krispy treats & a buttery vanilla banana combo kick things off with touches of tropical fruits and just a hint of smoke. There is a waxy sugar note like, candy corn, that permeates the whole dram and just a touch of toasted brown sugar. Toffee & caramel don’t really come out till much till you add a splash of water and then they jump to the forefront. Grains and wood are almost completely absent from the nose.

TASTE
The barley is right there from the get go. Once it moves aside though there is a rather robust vanilla followed by some delicate and pleasant buttery floral and woody notes with just a hint of smoke. There is something a bit medicinal about it but it gets counter acted with some light crisp fruit notes. A little splash of water and some hints of bruleed banana and toasted nuts arrive alongside some rather aggressive caramel and toffee notes..

FEEL
Slick and oily. The texture actually reminds me a bit of olive oil, but it’s a nice smooth dram

FINISH
Toasted malt, leather, caramel, and ash come through pretty strong in the initial aftertaste but as it fades the flavor turns more towards a more woody tone with a strange hint of celery root in there.

SCORE: 85/100

Josh Peters
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Josh Peters

I read about, think about, write about, and drink whisk(e)y. In short, it's my passion.
Josh Peters
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12 Responses to Yamazaki 12 Year Single Malt Review

  1. Really like this, actually. I thought it was very toffee heavy neat right out of the bottle, but given a chance to air out a bit, I thought the balance was nice. A splash of water brought out a saltiness to me. I felt like I was eating a salted caramel bar while I was draped in velvet.

    • I love the description you just used. Would you say this is your favorite Japanese whisky? Currently it’s my least favorite of the Japanese whiskies I’ve had (Hibiki 12 has been my fav so far), but it’s still decent.
      The toffee I didn’t really pick up till I added some water, but then it really popped for me. Still, very happy to have it in the collection.

      • I don’t think it is my fave, but I dig it. I had one at a bar a few months back that I can remember the name of that I would put at the top. Not very useful since I don’t know what it is :p

        • Ha yeah, but thanks nonetheless for adding your own thoughts about this whisky. I love reading what aspects other people pick out of a whisky.

  2. […] Yamazaki 12 Year …a rather burly dram neat it completely falls to pieces in a hurry when ice gets introduced to equation, even when it isn’t preceded by a splash of water. I don’t like to tell people how to drink their whisky, but with this one I would highly recommend it be drank neat. Though definitely experiment with water… […]

  3. I really expected more. It’s an easy drinker. Great nose and taste lead the way, but it’s just didn’t have that I’m a Hundred dollar whisky standout feature. I think mix 80s rating is spot on. There is no decerning feature that just makes you want to come back for more. It is however a very complete whisky but almost in an over engineered way. It almost feels mechanical in nature. Maybe a few more abv would make it stand out, or a different ratio of time in casks but in my opinion, this one is just too soft.

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