Review #29: Yamazaki 12

Yamazaki’s age statement releases are increasingly tough to track down, and expensive once found. Hard to imagine, but just 10 years ago these used to retail for $25. Japan is short on aged whisky, so age statement whisky bottles can be pretty hard to find these days, and expensive once found. We managed to track a few of these down through friends of ours who have a San Francisco spirits group and who were gracious to point out a liquor store that had a few in stock.

The Yamazaki distillery is in Kansai, between Osaka and Kyoto. It’s renowned for its well balanced, sherried whiskies. Yamazaki opened in 1923 and was the first commercial whisky distillery in Japan. Today the distillery is owned by Beam Suntory. The distillery has won praise from numerous reviewers, including many double gold medals at San Francisco World Spirits competition.

Yamazaki 12

Yamazaki 12 Whisky Review
  • Score - 7/10

Tasting Notes

Nose: Bubblegum and cherry candy. Pears and bouquet of fruit basket notes. Strawberries. Smells pink if it were a color. Cotton candy.

Palate: Very sweet and jammy. All of the lovely fruit flavors with vanilla and caramel playing the background. Sherry notes. 

Finish: Medium to short finish. No rough edges.


TLDR: “Liquid Haribo gummies.” Classic Japanese malt that’s becoming quite a tricky bugger to track down.


Additional Information

  • ABV: 43%
  • Cask: Mix of ex-bourbon, Oloroso Sherry and Mizunara Oak
  • Age: 12 Years
  • Yamazaki 12 is Japan’s first major export focused single malt.

About Yamazaki Distillery

  • Japan’s first commercial whisky distillery.
  • Located in Shimamoto, Osaka Prefecture, between Osaka and Kyoto.
  • They have 7,000 bottles on display in their beautiful whisky library.

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