Every so often I take a moment, and look back at some of the drams I’ve had the chance to review some amazing, amazing drams. Drams that I’m so lucky to have had, I can’t believe it. I’m honestly humbled and shocked. Especially the ones I’ve gotten in swaps.
The Yamazaki 18 is one of those drams.
First off, pacifen sent it to me, and that tells you how amazing pacifen is. Great swapper, would swap again. Swap.
Second, I’ve only had a handful of Japanese whisky, and let me tell you, it’s hard to drink whisky with your hands. Also, I’ve never really been impressed. It’s true, I was starting to give up on the region as a whole, and was generally avoiding it, as it’s also pricey and hard to get.
And as usual, I was happily wrong, ladies and gents.
Price: Not available in Ontario
Colour: Bloody copper (like if you bled on copper wire)
Nose: Wood, varnish, cherry, melon, spruce, macadamia nuts, iron shavings
Very much like smells like a workshop, which I love. I’m very surprised by this, it’s going in a direction that I didn’t expect at all. I was expecting something closer to Amrut Fusion, or Nikka Yoichi 10, where it tries to be in 2+ different regions at once. This does something new. The sherry influence is FINALLY balanced.
Mini-rant: A lot of the sherry casks I’ve had in the last bit haven’t been balanced. Either the sherry takes over or isn’t there at all. This one does it right. Macallan CS right? No, but it’s doing it right.
Taste: Cherry, salt pork, anise, gooseberry, faint smoke, taro, caramel, raspberry, red grapes, cloves, peach drink
This is complex, balanced, and unique flavour. It hits the right notes, it doesn’t go outside the park, and it’s not so odd you’d be confused. That being said, it’s almost too faint. It goes beyond delicate to too faint, for my tastes.
Angry past TOModera is angry because Yamazaki 18 changes his views!
Finish: Mushroom, seaweed, cherry powder, red bean, sesame, peanuts, oak, Stilton sourness, smoke
Medium length finish, unique again. I get some of the terroir I was looking for, and the sourness of the cheese in it is great. Also, I love red bean quite a bit, so that was a perfect way to finish.
Conclusion: Damn, this is great. Change your mind great. All other Japanese malts, and heck, a lot of Sherried malts, need to take note, this is how you make a balanced, interesting dram.
That being said, I wanted a little bit more from the taste. Just a wee bit more of something. Perhaps I am still having trouble with my old preferences, or perhaps I’ve become too used to cask strength blasts of flavour.
I may need to re-review this one in the future. In the mean time, I’d recommend everyone try it, as it’s great.
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