Saturday, November 28, 2009
"For relaxing times . . .
make it Suntory times." This famous line comes from the quirky and highly entertaining film, Lost in Translation. Bill Murray portrays an American actor in Japan for the purpose of doing an advertisement for Suntory whisky. The film gave tremendous exposure for the Yamazaki whiskey to the rest of the world, particularly, North America. Suntory have always run a lot of whisky ads with film stars too like Sean Connery. If you go on "You Tube" and search Suntory Advertisements you can see them for your self. Really quite entertaining. Getting back to the movie line above, I can personally attest that Suntory's Yamazaki 12yr old makes for relaxing times!
Single malt whisky can be distilled outside of Scotland! As much as scotch afficionados think only Scotland can deliver the finest whisky in the world, there are contenders elsewhere within grasp of taking the title.
Japan is home to a great distillery, Yamazaki, owned by the Suntory conglomerate. Matter of fact, this distillery was the first single malt distillery outside of Scotland. It was founded in 1923 in the Vale of Yamazaki, on the outskirts of Kyoto. The site was selected for its access to fresh air, pure water and ideal humidity for aging whisky in casks.
The Japanese love their whisky and like most endeavours that they attempt, they succeed when it comes to producing a great single malt whiskey. It is the Yamazaki 12 year old. My tasting note is as follows:
The aromas are a little different from what I expected. At first a little strong waft of alcohol, but sniffed more carefully, I detect malt and cereal. The nose is not impressive. Hard to read and so I really had no idea what would unfold upon tasting.
This is medium bodied to heavy. It has a viscous texture releasing malt, chocolate, sweet spice and some peat. It starts out sweet but by the finish starts to dry across the palate. Incredibly smooth dram of honey and cinammon. Could easily pass for a 12 year old Speyside single malt in a blind tasting test.
Nice length of flavors. Lingering cinammon/burnt toast and faint echo of peat, black tea and mint.
I like this a lot. It is interesting and totally inoffensive. Tastes like scotch and if I was conducting a blind taste test, I am sure it would pass for a Speyside as I mentioned above. Sophisticated, silky and reasonably priced too. You buy this and can be assured that you are receiving value for money. I rank this better than other 12 year old single malts like Glenfiddich and Glenlivet, but not as complex as say Cragganmore 12.
This is a sweet whisky with drying qualities upon the finish. Dalwhinnie is a good reference point for comparisons with this whisky.
What you will not taste in the Yamazaki 12 yr old is: sherry, tobacco and peat beyond a little tease.
The Yamazaki 12 yr old has made a new fan! I hope you will give it a try sometime. You will not be disappointed.
© Jason Debly, 2009-2011. All rights reserved.