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Yamazaki is the oldest distillery in Japan, founded in 1923 by Shinjiro Torii. They recently released the Yamazaki Distiller’s Reserve, a fruity whisky without age statement. According to the information that came with the bottle, it matured not only on Mizunara oak, but also in Bordeaux and sherry casks.
The nose bursts with red fruit. Think strawberry, red berries, raspberries and a hint of raisins. Soft notes of honey and vanilla underscore the sweetness of this nose. Nice coconut and banana as well. It stands out. Some cloves and a handful of cinnamon. The Japanese oak also adds a nice floral touch. This is good!
The palate is very soft. Silky soft, in fact. Again the vanilla and honey lead a basket full of fruit. The coconut is more outspoken than the red fruit, of which the raspberries shine through. Reminds me somewhat of candy floss. The spices are a bit louder, but certainly not dominant. The oak, however, does become loud after a few moments, but it certainly does not become oaky. Good balance.
The finish is wonderfully long on vanilla and cinnamon.
Yep, this is quite an excellent Japanese whisky, that proves yet again that a NAS-bottling is not de facto lesser whisky. And quite affordable for a dram of the rising sun.