Yamazaki 12 was one of Yamazaki’s first successes on the world stage – and the 12 year old continues to delight whisky enthusiasts today.
Yamazaki Distillery, the distillery behind the prolific Yamazaki 12, was opened in 1923 and was the first commercial distillery to be opened in Japan.
It was, and still is, owned by Suntory, who situated in in the ancient capital of Kyoto to be closer to a good water supply.
Since then, both Suntory and Yamazaki have developed into one of the biggest selling brands worldwide and consistently prove to outdo Scotch in competitions.
The distillery itself boasts an impressive Whisky Library of over 7,000 unopened single malts. These can be viewed by the public when taking a trip to the Yamazaki visitor’s centre.
One of the distilleries first biggest successes on the world stage was their 12 Year Old. This was first released in 1984, to much critical acclaim.
It is full bodied, with plenty of flavour and a characteristic Japanese floral note.
The nose opens with citrus fruits and sweet nuts. These intertwine to create a rich, oily dram that is brimming over with various flavours.
The citrus fruits are joined by mangoes and bananas, to give a more mellow sweetness to the lemon and lime tang.
The nuts have a soft texture and go hand in hand with the floral notes that are s key to great Japanese malts.
Orchard blossom and petals can be tasted in the undertone, with a slight nod towards dew-covered grass.
On the palate these flavours boom. The citrus fruits become more distinct and zesty.
Oranges take over, with a hint of candied lemon peel. The sweetness ties in well and is mouth-wateringly delicious.
The blossom also becomes stronger and more sugary sweet as well. It develops into a soft vanilla spice that adds a warming tone to the dram.
The mouth feel is smooth and soft, with an easy going sense about it.
Cinnamon and nutmeg become more obvious and have a delicate oaky quality to them.
The finish does not out stay its welcome, and has a medium linger, with plenty of floral and spicy notes.
Yamazaki 12: The verdict
Yamazaki 12 delighted critics on its first outing back in 1984. I’m pleased to say the whisky continues to satisfy whisky enthusiasts today.