Japanese whiskys are incredibly popular the world over and the Suntory whisky empire is at the forefront of that movement. The Yamazaki distillery is the biggest to come under their banner and is one of the most advanced distilleries in the world. Suntory has the capabilities to make a hundred different types of whisky and sixty of them are created at Yamazaki; varied types of distillation within a single distillery is very rare and the fact Yamazaki boasts these impressive facilities shows just how seriously they take their whisky.
The idea behind the new Yamazaki Cask Collection is for the distillery to show people the uniqueness of the component whiskys that are used to create their 12, 18 and 25 year old single malts. There are four varieties of barrels used in the aging process of the aforementioned whiskys (Sherry, Bourbon, Puncheon and Mizunara), and it is the unique flavour of each that is demonstrated through the new collection. The image below shows the casks that are used in the maturation process of the distilleries single malt range.
Please read through the synopsis of each whisky and let us know if you would like tobuy one by calling 01326 340226 or following the links for each whisky.
Suntory Single Malt Whisky – Yamazaki Bourbon Barrel (48%, 70cl)
The casks used here were previously were used for holding bourbon and, as such, the American white oak is charred on the inside. When used to age Yamazaki malts, the charred oak imparts an elegant aroma and sweet vanilla flavour. At only 180 litres, these barrels are smaller than the others that are used in the distillery and are more prone to the effects of the atmosphere. Because of this, they produce whiskys distinctive to the region where they have been aged.
The whisky is allowed to mature in the bourbon barrels and is kept in aging cellars in the Yamakazi and Oumi regions of Japan. The humid climate helps to gradually mature the whisky against a canvas of changing seasonal hues; the causatum of these events is the production of a whisky that is sweet and lingering with an innate smoothness and assaults the nose with unique scents. It is best taken neat so that the full flavour experience can be appreciated.
Suntory Single Malt Whisky – Yamazaki Puncheon Barrel (48%, 70cl)
Since the first whisky was produced at the distillery in 1923, Yamakazi has focused almost obsessively on the selection of the best casks to mature their malts in. It will be of no surprise then that they have an ‘in-house’ team of highly trained coopers that make a substantial amount of casks used at the distillery. One of the largest casks they produce is the Puncheon, a 480 litre behemoth that dwarves the other barrels in this article. Due to its immense size, less of the precious liquid within comes into contact with white oak innards, meaning that the maturation process occurs at a slower pace.
The uniqueness of the cask ensures that it alone can produce the harmonious sweet flavours and deep aromas that Yamazaki single malt is known for. The whisky that you will get from this barrel is simply exquisite; peachy, honeyed goodness with the subtle hint of vanilla gently massages your nostrils until you can no longer resist a taste. Then your palate is treated to a slightly sweet, smooth treat and a clean finish with hints of coconut. You’ll soon be reaching for another glass!
Suntory Single Malt Whisky – Yamazaki Sherry Cask (48%, 70cl)
Shinjiro Torii was the first person to produce whisky in Japan; that it occurred at the Yamakazi distillery certainly gives the whiskys produced here some great provenance! This particular whisky is even more reminiscent of those times as it is matured solely in Spanish Oak Sherry casks. This was the first ever cask type to be stored in the distillery’s warehouse; who knew that from such small beginnings big things would grow!
The sherry casks are still made in Spain from Spanish Oak but are produced to Suntory’s regimented specifications. Olorose sherry is matured in these casks for three years before the barrels are sent to Japan for the whisky to be introduced and nurtured. As tradition dictates, all Yamazaki single malt whiskys start their maturation process in the sherry casks, so this is the proverbial birthing place of the many delightful offerings from this distillery.
The tannins and other poly-phenols that have enriched the oak from the sherry aging bestow the whisky with an enticing dark red colour not found in those matured in the more common American Oak barrels. The Spanish Oak also enriches the whisky with a rich and fruity aroma and the perfect balance between sweet and sour with a pleasantly bitter lingering finish. Delicious.
Suntory Single Malt Whisky – Yamazaki Mizunara (48%, 70 cl)
Mizunara is a form of Japanese oak that Suntory was basically forced to use due to the difficulty of importing materials after the Second World War. The wood was not ideal and there were many complaints from blenders at the time as the grain is loose and casks often leaked their contents! This made coopering and wood selection something of a nightmare but there was no other choice at the time.
However, it seems as if the decision to use this material in times of austerity has paid dividends in the here and now. The soft trappings of aloe wood and sandalwood that these casks impart to their charges are now catching the attention and praise from whisky buffs and blenders from around the world. This is a truly unique whisky, a taste of homegrown Japanese whisky at its most fundamental.
After cracking open the bottle you will be greeted with the smell of Oriental incense, cinnamon, coconut and aloes wood – a truly mouthwatering prospect! As the gorgeous liquid slips down your throat, you will notice the smoothness with which it does so. The rich sweetness will delight you and you’ll be thankful for the pleasantly long lasting finish. You haven’t tried true Japanese whisky until you have had a bottle of this!
These fabulous whiskys are now in stock but the majority are limited to one per customer - it’s only fair everyone gets to try some! Call 01326 340226 or email email@example.com to make sure your not disappointed!