Saturday 16 April 2016

Tasted #276: Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2016


We've certainly heard a lot of it since the Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2016 Edition was announced (see our initial post from January here). One bloke says he likes the 2013 version, and the world goes nuts over the follow-up release. 

Limited to 5,000 bottles (1,500 for Japan, 3,500 for the rest of the world), we've seen retailers charging huge markups and bottles being auctioned for 5, even 10 times the recommended retail price (which was £200, $300USD and $450AUD...if you were lucky enough to find one at retail).

So, with all this hype, we wanted to try it and make a call for ourselves. If the 2013 was so great, and this is basically the same juice with an additional 3 years of maturation (which we learned from Mike Miyamoto recently), perhaps it really is that amazing? Perhaps the hype is justified...?

Let's find out...

Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2016 Edition (48% ABV, NAS, Japan, £200 / $450AUD / $300USD)
Colour: Deep, deep brown-red-copper. Incredibly dark. Almost black. Easily one of the darkest whiskies we've ever tasted.

Nose: Trademark heavily-sherried Yamazaki (we've tried a few, like these onesthese ones, these ones and especially this one) - coffee, mocha, roasted brazil nuts, sherry-soaked raisins. Huge, juicy, full of cherries. Absolutely beautiful nose - one of the best in a while. A few drops of water brings a freshness and a creaminess that wasn't there without. So far so good!

Palate: Drying, tannic, and oaky. Too oaky!? There's Ribena, dark chocolate, dates, sultanas. With some water - milk chocolate. There's a bit going on here, but there's an underlying theme of "oak" I just can't shake. I haven't tried the 2013, but if this is the 2013 with 3 extra years...perhaps it didn't need them? Hate to say it, but whilst it is enjoyable, it does feel a little over-oaked.

Finish: Long, tannic, and quite bitter - hints of Campari!

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 91/100. It was an absolute pleasure to get our hands on a bottle and taste this, and it's a quintessential Japanese sherry bomb...but we just can't help but feel it's had a little too long in oak. Mind you, that nose - wow, stunning.


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