Passover starts in less than 24 hours. As many of you know, in order to keep my whisky collection Kosher all year round, in the faint hope that one of my colleagues may one day join me for a dram, I seal off my access to it the night before. And before that I try to get one last review in. And more often than not it has been a Japanese whisky.
As usual, this is also the day that I made the Gefilte fish for our seders. My sister in law calls it “smelly fish” because when it cooks it really stinks. We had all the windows open and the fan son and still…but I digress.
This mini of Yamazaki 12 was a gift from @Talexander who, I believe, got it at auction. It looks old. There is a faded batch number etched onto it but I can’t make it out. A Yamazaki must be a great last dram before 8 days without whisky.
This expression is reviewed in my usual manner in a Brilliant Highland Whisky glass, allowing it to settle after which I take my nosing and tasting notes, followed by the addition of a few drops of water, waiting, then nosing and tasting.
Rich, sweet nose. Very fresh. Some cherries, purple grape juice. Slightly spirity. Flawless nose but not too complex. No change with water.
Very spirity on first arrival. Quite an alcohol nip.Peppery in the development. It’s fruity (dark red fruits) but it is overshadowed by the alcohol. Water thins the mouthfeel and tones down the bitterness a little. I get a slight hint of menthol. (20.5/25)
Peppery on the finish, fairly long. A little less bitter with water. (20.5/25)
The alcohol nip and the pepperiness overwhelm the pleasant sherry influence. Slightly better with water.
Score: Neat - 81.5/100 With Water: 82.5/100
I don’t want to jump to conclusions. A mini of uncertain age, and acquired at auction, with no knowledge of storage conditions over the years. I very much doubt that a fresh, well-stored bottle of Yamazaki 12 would be anything like this.
To all those celebrating this weekend, I wish you a happy holiday.
Happy Easter and Happy Passover!
I poured another 10 cc from the sample bottle and if I had to rate it tonight I would probably give it 84-85. Different day, different palate. No fish cooked tonight…
@Nozinan thank you for your review. I think that your caveats about the mini are well-advised.
My own history with Yamazaki 12 yo is that I tasted it first about 11 years ago at a restaurant and didn't like it. I had another glass at a different restaurant a couple of months later that I thought was great. Maybe six months after that, this being 2011, I saw a bottle offered for sale at what was then an excellent price of about $ 45. I bought the bottle and liked it very much, though the three bottles from which I had drunk seemed like they could have been 3 different whiskies. I still have 1/4 of that bottle today, in 2022. It has evolved greatly over the years, but is still quite good. I greatly miss the BANANAS which were all over the taste and smell of it for the first 2 years it was open. No more bananas now.
Do I like having Yamazaki 12 in my cabinet? Sure. It's a very nice whisky. But I would be unlikely to pay more than $ 80-90 for a bottle at this point, not the $ 220 average world asking price which it now fetches.