Sunday, January 24, 2016

Suntory Whisky have announced the release of the infamous Yamazaki Sherry Cask into the Australian market. This is the whisky form the family line that is seen as turbo boosting the Japanese whisky fever through late 2014 into 2015 when Jim Murray awarded the 2013 release World Whisky Of The Year (according to him of course). At that point Japanese whisky was already getting a lot of interest but not so much as once the media took hold of this announcement. Effectively it killed general access to most Suntory stocks which is a real pity in my books but it is what happens in all markets.

Unfortunately that release in 2013 was a limited run and in fact it did not see world release let alone release even in Japan. Specific targets were Europe only at that time. None-the-less Japanese Whisky fever hit hard and people were just buying whatever. I saw it first hand January 2015 in Narita airport. It was insane to say the least.

Now a new 2016 version has been released into Australia and priced at $450 AU. You will be guaranteed for a short time this releases price will rise almost immediately. If you are a collector aiming to resell this is a good thing but it should not be anything like the 2013 release pricing now sees.

Official reports from Suntory state this release is a blend of over 100 sherry cask aged Yamazaki Malts. Suntory select their own casks, char to a specified level, to then be filled with Spanish Oloroso for 3 years. After this initial seasoning period the casks are filled with Yamazaki malt for continued maturation. Details are sketching in regards to if it is already aged Yamazaki malt or new make spirit. My guess is probably both.

Following is the official details of the whisky. I have not tasted it so I cannot confirm or deny their suggested descriptors.

YAMAZAKI Sherry Cask 2016
Single malt whisky
Price: AU $450
ABV: 48% 96 proof

Tasting Notes:
Deep richness, mellowness and complexity of flavors.
Color: dark brown
Nose: raisin, sun-dried tomato, clove, cocoa
Taste: deep, rich, sweet and sour, chocolate with hazelnuts
Finish: long, bittersweet, sour

Suntory have been using and making sherried whiskies since almost the beginning of the distillery. Blends of both the Yamazaki and Hakushu whiskies in all their various facets go into making the equally famous Hibiki blends. On speaking with Mike Miyamoto during his various lists to Australia, he certainly said that some of the Yamazaki sherry casks do go into the Hibiki blends, or at least traditionally into the age statement blends.

Available at specialist Australian retailers as of Feb 2016 so if you are keen on a purchase get in now. Personally it would be great to taste as I am a big Suntory appreciator but we cannot have all things in life.

The Baron

Information quoted in this post has been provided to us as an official media release by Icon International on behalf of Beam Suntory.