Suntory’s Yamazaki line is actually a vatting of 3 different component whiskies that are aged in different casks: New American Oak, Mizunara (Japanese Oak), and Spanish Oak. There is more than just an age difference between the Yamazaki 12 and the 18. The recipe using the 3 component whiskies is also different. The Yamazaki 12 uses a higher percentage of the New American Oak, while the Yamazaki 18 uses more Spanish Oak. We reviewed the Yamazaki 12 here – now let’s take a taste of the the more heavily Spanish Oak influenced expression.
Color: Light Copper
Nose: Intense oak and sherry, prunes, dark red fruits, a little astringent though.
Palate: Nice chewy mouth feel, multiple layers of sweet sherry, leathery, surprising amount of heat here – almost spicy, a nice earthy tone.
Finish: Fairly long, tongue numbing and nice.
Comment: I am not a big sherry head, but this is very well put together, the sherry is integrated very well, it plays a big role here but not over powering. Between the 12 and the 18: Its a tough call but I, personally, prefer the freshness of the 12 year old with New American Oak influence.