Spirits & Cocktails

Snooth User: Really Big Al

Yamazaki Single Malt

Posted by Really Big Al, Nov 5, 2014.

How many folks enjoy whiskey?  On my recent 'Retired Rides' this year, my buddy and I have visited several distilleries in Northern Virginia.  We plan to visit another one within a few weeks down in Fredericksburg VA.  You can imagine my interest when I saw this article in the Washington Post this morning - the number one whiskey in the world is now a Japanese single malt!  The Yamazaki Single Malt Sherry Cask 2013 received a score of 97.5 out of 100.  I stopped by an ABC store (the only place to buy spirits in Virginia) to see if they might have a bottle, and nope, it's not available.  The article said it's worth about $160 a bottle and checking on-line I found a few places that said it's out of stock already.  Gee, I'm surprised.

However, the ABC store did have the Yamazaki 12-year single malt whiskey for about $65, so I bought a bottle of this.  No Sherry Cask aging here, but hey, I bet it's pretty tasty.  My kitty in the background (Ella) figures that I'll be giving her more food once I try some of the whiskey, so she's in favor of it.  I will need to compare this Yamazaki 12-year to our Glenmorangie 12-year in Port Casks.  If anyone gets their hands on the new number one whiskey, please let us know how much you enjoy the taste!


Reply by dmcker, Nov 5, 2014.

Have had it several times before. Personally I'm not a big fan of Suntory's whisky, though I am very much a single malt fan in general, and even like certain whiskeys from Tennessee and Kentucky.

Yamazaki has been around for years in Japan, which after WWII became something of a whisky drinking country for salaried employees unwinding after long workdays with something other than Sake or beer (though that has changed over the most recent generation and I'd be surprised to see any statistics purporting that whisky has maintained its market share). A lot of marketing effort has been focused on it, while recently their Hakushu brand has received even more of a push. Of all of Suntory's whiskies, I suppose Yamazaki is the one I'd drink if I had to. Suntory's beer is utter crap and I steer away from establishments that serve it, which are too frequent because, again, of their frequently over-aggressive marketing efforts. Yamazaki has improved in quality in recent years, probably as a result of knowhow gained from Suntory's overseas acquisitions of Bowmore and others, and their longterm partnership with Macallan. Neither of which, of course, have improved in quality since their Suntory alliances began, rather the contrary.

I could sit down and name up to 50 whiskies I'd want to purchase or drink before even considering Yamazaki, most from the Highlands. So when I have a moment I'll go and see why Jim Murray (an RP wannabe in the whisky world) was motivated to rank Yamazaki so highly, and what the standards and other particulars of the competition were. I wouldn't be surprised to find that somewhere along the way some of Suntory's funds lubricated the process, either directly or indirectly.


Reply by Really Big Al, Nov 5, 2014.

DM - Your insight is very enlightening.  I'm planning to hold onto this 12-year Yamazaki for at least a few weeks before I open it.  Maybe it's a good thing I could not find that special 'sherry cask' aged version, as Sandra would not be pleased with the bill.

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