Tuesday, January 18, 2022

The Yamazaki 12 Year Single Malt Japanese Whisky

- 90
- 86 Proof
- 12 Years
- Japan

Usually I'll have a quick story to start off these posts, talking about how I managed across a particular bottle, why I happened to buy a particular bottle, or something about the bottle in general. With this one, though, I've sat on it so long I'm not really sure when I got it or where.  I think it might have been at a liquor store connected to a gas station, but even that's a little fuzzy.

I do know that, in my various tasting notes that I keep in my Notes App on my iPhone, this was the very first entry. That means it's the bottle in my collection that has been open the longest. I looked and was able to find a laser code on the bottle, but that gave no indication of the year that it was bottled.  My best guess is I bought it around 2017, maybe 2018. Sadly, for a long time it's been the only Japanese whisky sitting on my shelves, and now I have none.  I may need to remedy that soon.

The nose was bright and vibrant. I got sweet notes of candied orange as well as a distinct lemon note, almost like citronella. It was sweetened by a honey aroma, and it also had a crackery note, even with a little bit of wheat flavor. Other sweet notes like butterscotch and caramel came through as well, and there was even a light black pepper spice to it. 

The flavor of this one was interesting in that I could almost separate them into three categories. The first category, and what I noticed first when I took my first sip, was the sweet, candy-like notes. I got honey and butterscotch mingled with a bit of vanilla. That butterscotch flavor seemed to become increasingly prominent from pour to pour.

The second category is the more earthy and grain-forward type notes. I got that crackery note from the nose, a bit buttery kind of like a Ritz cracker. There was also a sweet tobacco note that seemed to go right along with it.  While crackery and tobacco leaf aren't exactly in the same category, here they seemed to fit together and separate from the other flavors.

Finally, there was a certain fruity note to this. I absolutely got the citrus that I was getting on the nose. Thankfully it wasn't that citronella flavor. Rather, it was a bright and sweet orange note.  I also got notes of peach and apricot. In fact, the apricot note really came out in later pours, and it took on an almost sweet and jammy quality that I really enjoyed.

At first this was just a good bottle. The last few pours, however, I thought were fantastic with that apricot note coming forward. It was interesting how I was able to almost compartmentalize the different flavors, and I found I did so almost naturally. This was a tough one to grade, but in the end it's a very good whisky, and one that any whisky connoisseur should give a try.

Grade: B

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