Yamazaki 18 y.o. Review

Yamazaki 18 y.o.barry's place pics 008

43% abv

Score:  92.5/100


Damn, what a nose.  Deep and chocolaty.  Buckets of spice.  Sherry up front with the accompanying choir of raisin, deep woods and rum-like fruitcake notes.  There is the slightest hint of sulfur, which contrary to what I would expect, by no means even comes close to tarnishing this one.  Finally…soft waves of licorice and black cherry.  This is magic.

Engaging the tastebuds reveals heavy sherry and gorgeous deep ruby fruit.  Long and rich in delivery and development.  Picking up a little Kirsch in there too.

Oh, man.  I’m really not sure what to say.  It feels like some sort of transgression to share anything about this malt.  So deep and swirling in mystery is it.

This is a drink for lounging in dark jazz bars…for French burlesque music…for untold flings in foreign lands…for loosening your tie and lighting a cigar…for discussing Tom Waits…or reading ‘The Maltese Falcon’.

Exotic and arousing.


Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

6 thoughts on “Yamazaki 18 y.o. Review

  1. Phil

    I had a chance to try this one Friday night with my scotch club. Wow what a whiskey. I am going to get another chance to take a bit more time with it (and some tasting notes!) and needless to say, I am looking forward to another sip or two!

  2. Robert

    Just opened my first bottle of this earlier this week. I’m not sure what to think yet, but it is quite complex. I plan to try a third dram tomorrow and make notes, and then put away for a month or two, as I think it needs some time. (Which means it hasn’t met my expectations). I do know it can’t handle much water, as it easily drowns, becoming quite thin and flavorless after adding even a relatively small amount of water.

    1. Jeff

      I like the Japanese stuff I’ve tried, all very competent in a very traditional Highland style if catagorized as Scotch, but that’s sort of the sticking point: it’s too easy to catagorize it as Highland because there isn’t very much to differentiate it from Scotch, unlike Irish or many other whiskies from other countries, whether better or worse in individual quality.

      1. ATW Post author

        At the risk of opening up a can of worms here (as was already done on this whisky a long while back, when this review was posted on another site of mine)…this particular bottle being reviewed was from several years ago and was pulled from the Canadian markets due to high levels of carcinogens.

        The whisky was stunningly unique, much in the vein of some of the Kavalans/Karuizwas/etc.

        A comment I had made to the effect of wanting to buy more irrespective of said unacceptable levels of carcinogens led to some pretty heated comments being thrown my way. I stand by the statement though. A sip here and there ain’t likely to hurt, and I’m betting those so-called ‘unacceptable levels’ are something that could easily be contested. All speculation, of course.

        Anyway…I have not tried recent releases of this whisky as it is simply not available in my neighbourhood of late. The 12 year is, but is nothing like what the 18 was, and the price on even that has soared by $20 a bottle over the last while.

        Shame to hear you’re finding it less than stellar.

        1. Robert

          I had another dram and found it has already improved quite a bit. I’ve also figured out that you should only add few drops of water to bring out the hidden flavors, as more ruins it. In fact, this is probably the most sensitive whisky to water I have had. There is a funkiness to this (not bad though) that reminds me somewhat of the Bowmore 18, which I’m having trouble identifying. I’ll wait a week or more and try again. PS I opened an old bottle of Craggamore 12 that I bought a long time ago and find it quite good. Another one to put on your future review list. I also have the 1993 DE Craggamore that I got at the same time that I need to open. Bought from a store that was closing, so they were quite cheap, the same place I got 3 bottles of Longmorn 15 for less than $100. Had to clean off the dust!

          1. ATW Post author

            I have a Cragganmore 10 y.o. cask strength that will be reviewed soon, but no plans for the 12. Simply don’t have it or know anyone who has one open at the moment. Not one I plan to buy right now.

            Speaking of Distiller’s Editions…I’ll be posting two different Caol Ila DEs (2011 and 2012) as well as Glenkinchie DE right away.

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