Yamazakura 16, 40%

This Japanese blended whisky is an exclusive release for Europe. It more or less showed up unannounced, but there has been some information given on Nonjatta.com.

Apparently it consists of 16 year old whisky that was distilled somewhere in the past. Before bottling it was transferred to tanks in which it lay for an unknown period (Hirsch whiskey from the States teaches us this can be years and years), after which it was shortly ‘woken up’ in casks again.

It was matured in bourbon barrels and is made up of 20% malt and 80% corn whisky. There are 1992 bottles available.

The company that produces it, Sasanokawa Shuzo has been ‘producing’ whisky since 1946. But the origins of their product have been mysterious. Some say the bought spirit and blended it in Japan, others say they produced it from scratch. The provenance of this whisky is unknown, but I don’t think there’s reason to believe it was distilled elsewhere than in their distillery in Fukushima prefecture.

It doesn’t happen often that new Japanese whiskies come out, and when they do it’s even more rare if you can actually afford them. So, when this one popped up, I snatched one up for bottle sharing.

It’s very malty and quite heavy. Some spices and toasted oak, but also a hint of spirit. Sweet grains, sugar and rather thin. Well, actually, it’s quite generic.

The palate is slightly fatty and syrupy. Some oak, some malt, some white pepper. There’s more spices after that, and the hint of toasted oak. A tiny bit of red cinnamon makes up the most interesting flavor.

The finish shows the white pepper again. It’s not very long and the notes of grains and oak linger longest.

What to say about this one. There’s nothing special about it, that’s for sure. Well, maybe that off note I’ve not described yet. There’s something in this whisky that I can’t put my finger on. It’s a weird scent and flavor that doesn’t sit well with me and it is kind of omnipresent. So every step of the way is a weird step.

The flavors are all very uninteresting, and apart from that off note and the hint of red cinnamon on the palate there’s not much going for this one. A miss, this one.


Yamazakura 16, 40%, available for £ 89.95 from The Whisky Exchange


About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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