Category Archives: Yamazaki (Japan)

Yamazaki Distiller’s Reserve

Bought: Sainsbury’s, 9th February 2015

83.99/100 – Whiskybase (average from 75 member votes)

Since I now have more whisky than I could possibly drink in a lifetime (unless I wanted to end my life very quickly with alcohol poisoning!) I’m officially a ‘whisky investor’ as well as a collector and occasional sipper. With this in mind I started a spreadsheet (I like those) containing my collection, the purchase prices paid, and the latest auction bids (if more than I paid). I bought this Yamazaki from Sainsbury’s in February 2015 for £42, in the same month it sold at auction for £90! Clearly the bidders weren’t aware that this bottle was available in supermarkets for less than half the price? Unless they lived on a remote island and had a raving thirst for Japanese whisky. It’s unlikely that this price would be matched in the next auction, but it’s encouraging to an investor to see a 100% gain so soon!

This Yamazaki NAS (non-age statement) bottle has effectively replaced the old 10-year-old, and even the 12-year-old that used to grace the shelves of supermarkets across the UK. Nevertheless it’s been around long enough to get a lot of ratings on Whiskybase. Nearly 84/100 is an excellent mark. I’ll be interested to see if it makes it into the Whisky Bible 2016, and what the author thinks of it.

Here’s Whiskey Aficionado with his review on You Tube (Sept 2014):

Yamazaki Distiller's Reserve NAS 70cl

Yamazaki 12-year-old

Bought – Tesco, 28th July 2014

90/100 – Whisky Bible 2013 (2014 edition has less to say)
83.83/100 – Whiskybase (average from 478 member votes)

I had a drink of this whisky in a bar in Aberdeen at the start of July 2014 and decided I had to get a bottle. Like the 10-year-old I bought in May, the 12-year-old seems destined to be discontinued, so I was pleased to find it in my local Tesco. Probably not for long, so get it whilst you can (it’s also available on Amazon UK with free postage). The review of this malt has almost disappeared in the Whisky Bible 2014, so I had to go back to the 2013 edition to find a more detailed review. Jim Murray, the author, summaries with “a complex and satisfying malt”.

The Yamazaki 12-year-old also features in the book ‘101 Whiskies to Try Before You Die’ by Ian Buxton, where he remarks how staggering the growth in whisky sales in Europe from Japan has been within the last decade. Long may it continue if the quality of this 12-year-old is anything to go by!

Here’s ‘The Whiskey Dic’ with his review on You Tube (May 2016):

Yamazaki 12yo 70cl

Yamazaki 10-year-old

Bought – Tesco, 19th May 2014

84/100 – Whisky Bible 2013
81.9/100 – Whiskybase (average from 224 votes)

I’ve had to go back to the Whisky Bible 2013 for a malt rating because this whisky vanished from the 2014 edition. The reason is, it’s been discontinued. So when I saw it in Tesco I was surprised. I came home and did some research and was stunned to see Whisky Exchange selling it for £99.95! Tesco’s price of £40 now seemed quite reasonable. If you’d asked me a year ago if I’d think £40 for a bottle of spirit was acceptable I would have said you were mad but here I am, splashing the cash! Now whose the mad one?!

At the same time as discovering the demise of this 10yo I noticed that Sainsbury’s have introduced a “Distiller’s Reserve” by Yamazaki. I then read on a forum that the distillery is running out of 10yo, which is the reason behind this new NAS (non-aged statement) bottling. I suppose that means it wont be long before the 12yo version of Yamazaki disappears too. Eeek!!! I’d better go out and buy one!

(Update Jan 2017) – Added Whiskybase score where comments include “well-balanced, rich and has plenty of depth” and “a lovely aperitif whisky”. But also “Beautiful nose. Taste is okay. Finish is disappointing; relatively short, and lacking definition.” Clearly it’s not perfect for everyone. Hard To Find Whisky are selling a bottle for £230 but it will still taste like a £40 dram.

Yamazaki 10yo 70cl