Saturday 16 January 2016

PR #30: Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2016

It took the whisky world (perhaps that should be the whisky auction world) by storm when a certain Mr Murray voted the 2013 release as "World Whisky of the Year" last year, and now it's back, with the iminent release of the Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2016.

Sure to be an instant sell-out, the 5,000 bottle worldwide release (246 for Australian bars and retail stores, HK release figures unknown) from Suntory is due next month.

There's scant detail on the rest of the "cask collection" (these releases usually consist of 4 different bottlings - a Mizunara cask, a Bourbon cask, a Puncheon and the Sherry cask) but since Mr Murray's award, it seems the Sherry Cask is the one on everyone's radar.

With only 5,000 bottles to be released, we're sure Suntory could use any old sherry casks and still sell out in minutes - but instead they've taken the same base as popular 2013, with an additional 2 years maturation, and thrown in some additional malts over 25 years old. Sounds like a winner to us.

We're hoping to get our hands on a bottle in the coming weeks, so we can let you know our thoughts. In the mean-time - here's the official press release:
"Suntory Whisky, the pioneer of Japanese Whisky, will launch the Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2016 into the Australian market in February 2016. The Yamazaki Sherry Cask has been created for lovers of complex, refined, yet subtle tastes. Only 246 bottles will be available for sale in specialist whisky retailers and bars.

In 2015, Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible awarded the Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2013 “World Whisky of the Year”. The new 2016 blend incorporates the same whiskies that created the 2013’s base with an additional two years maturation as well as adding various rare sherry cask single malt whiskies, some of which are over 25 years old.

Created by Chief Blender and Great Grandson of founder Shinjiro Torii, Shinji Fukuyo, the Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2016 is a deliberate design, choosing from over a hundred malt whiskies. While sherry casks are both revered and feared for their strong character, Shinji Fukuyo selects only casks that hold a delicate balance of chemistry between the Yamazaki malt, and sherry cask, thereby enhancing Yamazaki’s characteristically rich and multifaceted flavour.

“Shinji Fukuyo has designed a journey in this whisky. The Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2016 is undeniably where Spain meets Japan in the form of a whisky. To fully enjoy this journey, Fukuyo recommends the whisky first be served neat to showcase its nose. On its own, there is a clear and fresh top note. A raisin-like, deep sweetness that is both elegant and rich,” Narelle McDonald, Beam Suntory Marketing Manager for Premium Brands, said.

“You immediately taste the complexity of this liquid, and the fine balance of maturity and delicateness. Served on the rocks, the flavour opens as you begin to taste the Delaware grape-like sweetness and its slightly bitter acidity. When cut with water, there is a soft sweetness that blossoms like the first apples of the harvest,” said McDonald.

Sherry cask whisky has been a constant staple of the Suntory Whisky portfolio since 1924; a year after the distillery began construction. Shinjiro Torii started making Suntory Whisky in sherry casks imported from southern Spain, which he had originally used to blend his famous Akadama Sweet Wine.

Today, Chief Blender Shinji Fukuyo visits the Northern region of Spain himself to ensure that it is his selection of Spanish oak to be sent to the “bodegas” sherry wineries to be made into sherry casks used to store their Oloroso Sherry. Fukuyo carefully oversees this entire process, from the selection and making of the casks, to the charring, and the aging of their sherry. After three years of aging, the sherry casks are sent back to Suntory Whisky, ready to receive what becomes the distinguished Yamazaki Single Malt Whisky."
(We've met Fukuyo-san twice now, and had no idea he was the Great Grandson of Shinjiro Torii. Nice guy, great blender AND from Japanese whisky royalty! Cool.)

The Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2016 will be available in selected specialist whisky retailers and bars from February 2016, priced at $450AUD RRP.


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