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Suntory Yamazaki 18 Year Old

A Gift For The In-Laws!

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@SquidgyAshReview by @SquidgyAsh

11th Oct 2013


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Recently I purchased a bottle of Yamazaki 18 year old for my father and mother in laws. They're huge fans of the Yamazaki 12 year old, and I felt that considering how difficult it is to put one's hands on a bottle of the 18 year old, I felt that it would make an awesome Fathers/Mothers Day gift for them.

They were thrilled when they got the bottle and decided that they were going to open the bottle on a special occasion. Fair enough I'd do the same thing.

A month went by and pretty quickly the year anniversary since our family had purchased and run our business was upon us and in honor of that anniversary the family decided to crack the bottle open.

Even better they invited me over for a dram!

When I got to the house they cracked the bottle and poured me a wee dram, that turned out not to be a wee dram. I asked for just a nip and they almost completely filled my glencairn.

Holy crap, that's a lot of whisky!

Definitely too much to have at one time. So I decided to take a nip and bring the rest of it home with me.

Now on my initial taste of the Yamazaki 18 year old, I wasn't very impressed. I didn't enjoy it and sat there wondering why it was such a popular whisky.

What I wound up doing was pouring the glencairn into a couple sample bottles so that my wife and I could share a dram one night and put the bottles onto the shelf and walked away.

Roughly a month went by before I touched those sample bottles, in the meantime when I visited the in laws I noticed that two thirds of their bottle had been drunk.

Well at least they're enjoying it!

Last night I cracked the sample bottle for my wife and I to enjoy after her kickboxing class and our dinner.

Alright here goes, let's see if this whisky really is all that everyone has been telling me it is.

Oak, vanilla, big citrus, vanilla, slightly floral, cinnamon, pears, apples, coffee, sultanas, smoke.

Holy crap that's an AWESOME nose!! The whisky has REALLY opened up in the glass since I first had it. I'm totally loving it and could sit here for hours just nosing it.

Let's see how the palate is doing!

Funky, chocolate, quite oaky, lots of fruit, sultanas, pears, apples, earthy and then slightly spicy, then something definitely funky, I couldn't even begin to describe that flavor, sourish/saltish, what the bloody hell is that!?

Still can't figure out what that odd note, gods that makes me curious.

The finish is very long with fruit and slight spice and smoke.

Well whether it's due to a difference in mood or the whisky opening up in it's sample bottles, but this is a much better whisky then the one that I first tried.

However there is DEFINITELY a funkiness there that I honestly can't decide if I like it or hate it, if it adds or detracts to the whisky.

However all that being said I can see why the Yamazaki 18 is so highly sought after, but still for me I'd have to prefer Hakushu as a Japanese distillery over Yamazaki. Just a personal preference.

However if you're looking for something different and a little funky I do believe that you'd have fun with the Yamazaki 18 yr old.

However it is not a cheap Japanese whisky running an easy $200 to $300 AUS per bottle and being quite difficult to put your hands on at times so do be aware of that if you decide that a bottle would make a good addition to your cabinet or a good present for a friend.

Now all I have to do is figure out what the hell that funkiness was!

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Victor commented

A gift for your in-laws? I am ready to adopt your wife.

7 years ago 0

systemdown commented

Haha @Victor! You'd do well to be related to @SquidgyAsh come gift-giving time, that's for sure.

@SquidgyAsh Yes do let us know about this "funky" note. I might just have to try this at the bar next time to see if I get what you're getting!

7 years ago 0

SquidgyAsh commented

@Victor well I have referred to you as a whisky mentor or whisky father before! If you only lived in a place that could receive whiskies boy would you get a surprise on your birthday :D Wait til you see what I bring whenever we finally meet up in real life buddy!

@Systemdown hahaha thanks for that thought! Funny story, the last bottle of whisky that I bought for my brother in law (we don't give gifts to one another, but I knew he'd love it and he'd never spend the money on a bottle) resulted in him purchasing a 60 inch TV for my birthday. I think he was happy so yeah if you're a whisky drinker in my house and it's your birthday I don't think you would have cause or any room for complaint :D

As for the funky note I'll give the remaining sample a taste again tomorrow night when I have a clean palate (have just had 2 beers so no good!) and see if I can identify it. It was very . . . odd. I've only got about 5 to 10 mls of whisky left so not a whole lot of wiggle room for figuring it out sadly.

7 years ago 0

indynoir commented

I agree with your assessment for the most part. The nose is just fantastic! I don't get any funky notes on the palate, it is quite dry and has some bitter orange notes, it works quite well balancing with the richer sherry notes, but the whisky is not one to take my breath away. It strikes me personally as a little to mellow for that experience, though it does have some lively spice. I say very nice whisky but for the $135 I paid, and now pushing $200, it's definitely OVER RATED in my humble opinion. I followed this up with the Glendronach 15 which is definitely a little more wild (peppery) and less refined than the Yamazaki 18, but the flavors are so much more intense and delicious, and at 1/2 to 1/3 the price. I gave Yamazaki 18 a 90, Glendronach 15 a 92. Value scores would be Yamazaki 18 - 75, Glendronach 15 - 92.

6 years ago 0

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