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!
Sounds like you had an amazing time with some amazing whisky!? And £13 for a pour of those three . . wow!
It's a real shame Japanese whisky has gone the way it has - I've only had Hibiki 12 and Nikka WFTB but really enjoyed both and would like to try more of the single malts. I'll start saving for a plane ticket now then
edit - Just remembered actually, I saw a bottle of this in a little boutique spirits shop in St Ives last year, which surprised me. The tag of £250+ didn't though!