The House of Suntory recently unveiled a collection of four Yamazaki single malts that together make the composition of Yamazakia: Puncheon, Peated Malt, Spanish Oak and Mizunara.
A statement from the distiller explained that the new collection honors Tsukuriwake, which means “artisanship through a diversity of making.”
From its launch in 1984, the character of Yamazaki Single Malt Whisky has always been defined by what’s described as the foundational pillars of maturation and blending, which includes Puncheon, Peated Malt, Spanish Oak and Mizunara casks.
The Tsukuriwake in Yamazaki consists of multiple strengths of non-peated and peated grain varieties, two types of wash backs, eight pairs with various shapes of pot stills and maturation in four different oak casks (French, Spanish, Japanese and American), with three cask size differences in American oak.
“What excited me most about this launch is that just one year before the 100th anniversary of Suntory Whisky, we can finally share the full story behind our Tsukuriwake way of whisky making, which was born from the Founding House of Japanese Whisky,” said Shinji Fukuyo, Suntory’s fifth-generation chief blender. “The 2022 Yamazaki Limited Edition Tsukuriwake Selection honors the fact that greatness comes from diversity.”
In 1923, when Shinjiro Torii built Japan’s first malt distillery in Yamazaki, the House of Suntory, it is said, had no choice but to build its own approach to crafting whisky. Experimenting with a variety of grain types, wash backs, distillation methods, casks and blending techniques resulted in the House of Suntory’s Tsukuriwake style.
Through years of experimentation, trial and error, and persistence, it took three generations, three master blenders and five chief blenders to transform what happened out of necessity into what’s seen as one of the key signatures of the House of Suntory.
The 2022 Yamazaki Limited Edition Tsukuriwake Selection, initially released in Japan in 2020, will be available in the next month in select global markets including the United States, the UK, Germany, France, Austria, Spain, Singapore, Taiwan, China, South Korea, Thailand and Australia.
Each expression is bottled at 48% ABV and has a suggested retail price of $450 with the exception of the Mizunara bottling, which has a suggested retail price of $620.
The Yamazaki Puncheon Single Malt Whisky is made from selected malts aged exclusively in puncheons crafted by Suntory artisans from hand selected American oak. With a capacity of approximately 480 liters, these large casks allow malt whiskies to mature slowly, imbuing them with a complexity and vibrance. The Puncheon cask malt whiskies impart their subtle notes essential to the delicate base of the Yamazaki Single Malt.
- Color: Pale gold.
- Nose: Green apple, mature pear, acacia honey with a hint of vanilla.
- Palate: Clean, velvety and mild, with delicate butterscotch notes.
- Finish: Oaky woodiness with subtle sweetness.
YAMAZAKI PEATED MALT
The Yamazaki Peated Malt is made of heavily peated malted barley that’s blended to make a gentle and refined whisky. The peated malt imparts subtle smoky, earthy notes essential to the complexity of the Yamazaki Single Malt.
- Color: Bright gold.
- Nose: Subtly smoky with green herbal notes.
- Palate: Gently peated with hints of earthiness, pineapple and citrus notes.
- Finish: Complex with lingering peatiness.
YAMAZAKI SPANISH OAK
The Yamazaki Spanish Oak is composed of selected malt whiskies matured in oak casks originating from Northern Spain. The Spanish oak cask malt whiskies impart a delicately rich and decadent palate with subtle acidity and fruity aromas, essential to the multi-layered flavor profile of the Yamazaki Single Malt.
- Color: Rich reddish amber.
- Nose: Dried raisins and prunes, with hints of sundried tomatoes.
- Palate: Delicately rich and decadent with subtle acidity.
- Finish: Buttery with lingering acidity and hint of bitterness.
Mizunara is a species of oak native to Japan and is considered the signature enhancer giving Yamazaki its quintessential Japanese character and elegance. Whiskies which undergo a long maturation in Mizunara casks take on a distinctive Japanese spiciness and incense-like flavor of sandalwood and agarwood. The Yamazaki Mizunara Single Malt Whisky comprises long-matured malt whiskies showcasing the hand-crafted Mizunara casks. The Mizunara cask malt whiskies impart their enigmatic spicy notes essential to the signature taste of the Yamazaki Single Malt.
- Color: Amber.
- Nose: Rich and elegant top note, custard cream, cinnamon.
- Palate: Gentle on the tongue, aromatic and round with spiced sweet notes.
- Finish: Distinctive deep woody notes reminiscent of Japanese incense.
Gary Carter has been at the helm of metro newspapers, magazines, and television news programs as well as a radio host and marketing manager. He is a writer/editor/photographer/designer by trade, with more than 30 years experience in the publishing and marketing field. Gary enjoys working to build something great, whether...