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Suntory Yamazaki 25 Year Old Sherry Cask

Average score from 2 reviews and 2 ratings 92

Suntory Yamazaki 25 Year Old Sherry Cask

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Suntory Yamazaki 25 Year Old Sherry Cask

This is not a review. This is a declaration.

I finally landed my Moby Dick. Ever since I first laid eyes on that pristine label, the minimalist bottle design and the fiery red liquid inside I knew I just had to have it. It cost me an arm and a leg to get hold of a bottle a few years ago but I just couldn't muster up the courage to open it and realize my dreams.

But then last night my good friend Nitin decided that gifting me a 50ml sample of this would be the perfect birthday present! And it was.

I even took notes but somehow my phone decided that judging this whisky would be a travesty and so promptly lost the memo.

Is this the best whisky I've ever tasted? Probably not. But is it any good? You bet your Bonsai Tree it is! It's, to put it mildly, one of the most fabulously crafted spirits I've ever had.

But more than that it's the fulfillment of a five year old dream.

Now I don't want to sound like I'm gushing so I'll go straight to my notes.

Nose: Pretty awesome.

Palate: Love it!

Finish: Beautiful.

Balance: Out of this world.

Overall Comments: I'm going to give this a perfect score because it didn't let me down even though I had built it up so much in my head.

@MaltActivist, nothing speaks louder on Connosr than a 100 point review score, particularly from someone who has posted 300+ reviews. It takes a brave man or woman to post a 100 point score, but then you are no shrinking violet. I've tasted only one bottle I would have rated at 99 points, and none to which I would have given 100.

If I opened a 43% abv bottle whisky which was worth a 100 point score from me I would immediately decant that bad boy, because I would not want anything from the experience to change much. 43% abv whiskies are far more vulnerable to losing balance after they are exposed to air than are the high-proof whiskies.

Glad to see such excellence being encountered by one of our own Connosr members. Too bad such bottles are nowadays likely to require the mega-bucks and/or be next to impossible to find.

Thanks for the enthusiastic review, and congratulations on your enjoyment of the rest of your bottle of Yamazaki 25 yo Sherry Cask!

@Victor @Cunundrum To be perfectly clear the real reason I gave this whisky a perfect score is because I had waited so long to taste it. Even though I had a bottle on my shelf I just wasn't sure what occasion to open it. And it was next to impossible to get hold of a sample.

But then I finally got my hands on one and I was so happy that I was happy to disregard any flaws or imperfections it might have. Is it really and truly a 100 point whisky? Probably not. But let me put it this way. I was entertaining thoughts of selling this at some point and making room for more bottles. But now after tasting it I've decided to keep it and, once again, wait for that occasion I deem worthy.

I will at some point re-visit it and might even conduct an actual tasting. Till then I'm happy to let it sit atop my review scale.


Yamazaki distillery was established in 1923 by the Kotobukiya Company, owned by Shinjiro Torii. It is located in Yamazaki, a small town situated between Kyoto and Osaka. Production started in 1924 with Masataka Taketsuru, the future founder of Yoichi distillery, as distillery manager. Kotobukiya changed its name to Suntory in 1929, and their first whisky, a blend made from their single malt and grain whiskies, was released in 1932. The distillery is located near the confluence of three rivers (Katsura, Kizu and Uji), in an area traditionally famous for its good water, and indeed the great tea master Sen no Rikyu chose to have his tea house there. Suntory claims that the three rivers meet each other at different temperatures, which causes mist that is good for storing whisky as it reduces the loss of moisture from the casks. Yamazaki’s first whisky was released in 1929. The 25-year old expression was first marketed in 1999 and is a limited edition with just 12,000 bottles available every year.

The nose is astonishingly sweet with intense flavours of prunes and liquorice, followed by espresso notes and honey. Next, flavours of port wine and balsamic vinegar develop.

The palate is medium-bodied, soft and quite silky on the tongue; however the flavours are super intense: distinct notes of sherry get together with liquorice, bitter chocolate, espresso, red wine, strawberry jam, and a distinct tannic dryness. Incredibly bold and assertive!

The finish is very dry, peppery, long and warming. The espresso is back, together with plenty, plenty of oaky flavours.

I took my time tasting this at Yamazaki distillery, and I really wanted to like it! Alas, this single malt was too pretentious for me, and especially the palate’s boldness and assertiveness were not much to my liking. What is more, both palate and finish were very oaky and were seriously compromising the nose that I quite enjoyed. In short, I have hardly ever tried a 25-year old that was similarly ostentatious, and I had expected more elegance from a single malt that goes for more than 1,000 US dollars.

@tabarakRazvi, @Victor, many thanks for your posts. Tabarak, I am actually very much impressed that you own a bottle of the Yamazaki 25yo. I know that in Japan it retails for more than 100,000 yen, a remarkable price tag indeed. Anyway, as I mentioned I did take my time tasting this at the distillery, I had tasted younger expressions before attending to the 25yo, but the two of us, we just would not connect. If it hadn't been for the overbearing oak influence this would have been a superb single malt. Maybe I just tasted from a slightly inferior batch and should have another go at it? Please let me know once you open your bottle as I might come and visit.

It's a shame you didn't like this whisky. As for me, I too tasted it at the distillery,in November 2013, and to date it has been the highlight of my whisky world. At the same sitting I had the Yamazaki 1984 and for me the 25 was the winner. I can still vividly remember walking away from the distillery towards the station with this sensational warming glow. All around us the momiji (maple trees leaves)were a beautiful yellow and red, everything just encapsulated the quintessential Japanese autumnenal evening, and the wonderful aftertaste from the Yamazaki was still presant when our train pulled into Kyoto station. I feel privileged to have had the oppertunitly to have indulged in such a whisky, in such an awesome invironment. I would give this a 95.......

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