Yamazaki = the perfect summer night!

August 9, 2011 § 14 Comments

For these warm summer nights – I love nothing more than to sit outside with a glass of Suntory’s Yamazaki 12 (or 18!) with 1 ice cube it if it’s really sticky outside and a big plate of cured meats, raw-milk cheeses and baguette.

Welcome to Summer PERFECTED

The Japanese whiskies have the structure and depth of some of the great Single Malt Scotches but by catering to a Japanese palete (think about their cuisine; light & delicate but full of flavor), their whiskies often have a crisp, pure taste and a refreshing mouthfeel (see where I’m going with this!?).  The Yamazaki’s are great whiskies to drink during the warmer months and perfect companions to cut through the various flavors in the slightly oily bites of your charcuterie & cheese plate!

Yamazaki 12

On the nose:  Layers and layers of flavors.  You can have fun just smelling this beauty! Lots of vanilla and caramel from it’s time spent in the American, Japanese and Port casks.  Honey, floral, apple, orange, touch of smoke

On the palate:  Mellow pepper up front, moves to floral, ends with smoked-honey

Finish: Lingers on the tip of the tongue, pepper dissolves quickly for me but the floral notes and smoked-honey stick around for a bit

Now, to be drinking outside in NYC, that usually means you’re at a bar/restaurant but if you’re lucky enough to have a balcony, roof or garden you can relax in – invite me over! er, I mean …all the better!  (My fun summer outdoor drinking suggestion: Vintry Wine & Whiskey!)  Cheers!


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§ 14 Responses to Yamazaki = the perfect summer night!

  • Went to a Suntory tasting a while ago and still got about half a bottle of the Yamazaki 12…delicious dram 🙂
    Great post

    • Hey G&B,
      Thanks for commenting! I love the Suntory tastings – were they able to serve the cask strengths from the three different oak casks at the event you attended? I went to one in the Spring where they did this and I thought it was a fantastic way to learn the different characteristics each oak barrel gives to the whisky. We tasted the cask strength from the Japanese Oak, American Oak & Port Casks and then tasted the Yamazaki 12, 18 & Hibiki 12 to understand how these three casks work together when blended. Great products.

      • Wow sounds great…no we had 2 Yamazaki (12 & 18), 2 Hibiki (17 & 30 if memory serves) and 2 Hakushu…can’t remember which! (it was about 18 months ago…)
        Plenty of other japanese whiskies i want to taste though! Nikka for example, any you’d recommend!?

        • Ooh, 2 Hibiki’s (and neither the 12yr !) that’s awesome. I’m a huge fan of Japanese whisky but, if you don’t mind my asking, what country do you live in? This greatly changes what is available to you (in the US, we only have 4 different offerings from Suntory). I love Nikka and can only get it when I travel to Europe. The one I had most recently was Nikka From the Barrel (it rocks). If you can get it (and afford it) I know that anything by the Chichibu distillery is great. Best English-written blog on the subject is http://nonjatta.blogspot.com/ The author, Chris Bunting, is a true expert on the subject and has written his own book as well as contributions to many other that you probably already have in your library. He lives in Japan and has his finger on the pulse. I’ll be doing a post about Nikka soon so be sure to check back! 🙂

      • Am from England (london), have seen plenty of Japanese whisky kicking about, just working on a limited budget at the moment! Shall definitely check out that blog you mentioned, and make sure i keep an eye out for your nikka post…

        Thanks 🙂

  • G-LO says:

    Yo WW!

    Both Yamazaki’s are fabulous! We’ve had several bottles of the 12 in our midst over the past couple years and the 18 has been on my “must buy” list for quite some time, but at $120/bottle, I’ve been holding off. I never thought to have it as you’ve described. Love the food, love the whisky. May have to pull this together!

    Have you had the Hibiki 12? Also delicious and very reasonably priced. Beautiful bottle too!


    • Hey G-LO!
      I love that we share similar whisky-likes. I’m so with you on the Yamazaki 18. In fact, that was the whisky that turned me into a whisky lover … we all have one. Do you remember what yours was?

      I had a bottle of the Hibiki 12 a long time ago and don’t really remember it too well … (except for the beautiful, cylindrical bottle) the Yamazaki 12, however, is definitely a main-stay in our whisky collection. Did you ever get into your Nikka?

      Thanks for the comment!

      • G-LO says:

        Yo WW!

        I have loved whisky for a long long time. Started off with Bourbon and Ginger Ales and slowly moved towards drinking it straight (Old Grand Dad + Maker’s Mark). Knob Creek really turned me on to straight bourbon, and a Johnny Walker Journey of Taste event got me into Single Malts (shameless plug alert! Here’s the story: http://wp.me/pT4Is-7y). I had the Yamazaki at a Scotch Malt Whisky Society Extravaganza event, and absolutely loved it. Luckily, my fellow bloggers have had bottles of the 12 around as well as the Hibiki on numerous occasions, so I have them quite often. Gotta get the 18!

        As far as the Nikka, I finally had it last night. Loved it! That’s all I’ll say for now. Stay tuned for the review which will be up in a week (will be on vacation next week, so we’re scheduling posts).



        PS… You need to tell us more about what you do! I’m guessing you have a much funner job (yes… I said funner). 🙂

        • Hey!
          I love hearing how people “get into” whisky – it’s so different for everyone. I’m impressed that you remembered the Yamazaki after an event as big as the Scotch Malt Whisky Society Extravaganza (thank goodness your friends had it on hand for plenty of “refresher” tastes!).

          I can’t wait to read your post on the Nikka – I’m sooo curious to hear your thoughts & read your tasting notes. Would you go on vacation already!? Jk.

          Yea … my job is alright 😀 It’s great being your own boss and I’m so lucky to be able to meet and socialize with some really interesting & creative people. I just updated my “about” page with a link to our new FB page if you want to see more. In the mean time, I’m happy to say I will have more to report in the next 6 months so stay tuned!

      • G-LO says:

        Actually, I was seeking out the Yamazaki because I had heard so much about it. Hopefully, as Japanese whisky starts to catch on, there will be more of it available. And as far as vacation goes, we’re leaving tomorrow night. Looking forward to a week away! Hope to come back with some interesting stories to share.

        Took a look at your Facebook page. Very very cool! I am so jealous. I have no doubt that it’s hard work, but I bet you get to actually have some fun. Looking forward to hearing more about what you do to pay the bills!


  • […] I’m a bigger fan of their Yamazaki single malts (see my earlier post HERE), I do also try to keep a bottle of the Hibiki 12 on hand, despite it’s somewhat higher price […]

  • […] 18.  The second being that we always have a bottle of the Yamazaki 12yr on hand – always (which I have reviewed in the past HERE). I have long admired the Japanese esthetic – and when it’s applied to luxury, it […]

  • pranay says:

    The Yamazaki 18 and the Lagavulin 16 was what really converted me from a wine only person to a whisky (primary) and wine (secondary) person. It’s become a virus now. It’s amazing how quickly and deeply you start appreciating the finer whiskies.
    I love the Yamazaki’s depth and complexity, and the fact that I don’t feel as if I can’t have it on a warm summer day (unlike some of the Islay ones with a stronger peat content). And as far as the Lagavulin—can’t beat price vs quality. ( the Brenne is amazing for a creative new spin, value, and quality…been buying several of those lately)

    • Hi Pranay!
      Thank you so much for your insightful share. I couldn’t agree more with your fine choice of drams. I was at the Yamazaki distillery not too long ago and joked with them that they’re to “blame” for everything that happened to me after my fist sip of Yamazaki 18! 🙂 Great people, awesome whiskies.

      Lagavulin 16 is also a fine choice! On a different peated journey, I’ve been really into the Highland Park 18 this summer (more floral/lavender peat as opposed to the big, beautiful, leather/smoke of the Islays).

      Thank you so, so much for your Brenne support!!!!!! It humbles me to know that people are really enjoying it. Truly. THANK YOU!

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