Click through to view Suntorys Yamazaki Cask Collection

Click through to view Suntory's Yamazaki Cask Collection

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Suntory's Yamazaki Cask Collection

Category - Spirits, whisky, Japan, all four at 48% abv

Available - From next month

Location - UK and France, on- and off-trade. UK outlets include Whisky Shop, Hedonism and Masters of Malt

Price - Three at around GBP70 (US$112) per bottle, Mizunara at GBP250 per bottle

Distribution - In UK, Cellar Trends

Suntory has lined up the release of four Japanese whiskies in France and the UK.

The range comprises:

  • Yamazaki Bourbon Barrel
  • Yamazaki Sherry Cask
  • Yamazaki Puncheon
  • Yamazaki Mizunara

The whiskies have been available in Japan since the first half of this year.

Show the press release

In a rare collection of limited edition releases for Christmas, Suntory has unveiled four Yamazaki single malt whiskies aged in each of the different wooden casks manufactured in its cooperage.

Eagerly awaited by collectors and connoisseurs is the unusual Yamazaki Mizunara. Unique to Japan, this indigenous oak imparts exquisite aromas of incense and a deep lingering after-taste.

The whiskies in the Yamazaki Cask Collection are Yamazaki Bourbon Barrel, Yamazaki Puncheon, Yamazaki Sherry Cask and Yamazaki Mizunara. The play of different woods and barrel sizes and the six different types of pot still, reveals the wide variety of whisky styles which can be created at the Suntory distillery at Yamazaki near Kyoto.

American White Oak, Spanish Oak and Japanese Mizunara are used to make five different cask sizes. They are 180 litre Bourbon barrels imported from the USA; 230 litre Hogsheads remade from US Bourbon barrels; 480 litre Spanish white oak barrels made in the Suntory cooperage; 480 litre Spanish oak barrels which have been seasoned with Oloroso sherry for three years.

Each of these barrels figures as a component in the maturation of the Yamazaki 12 year old, 18 year-old and 25 year old single malts. The Yamazaki Cask Collection – all are non-age whiskies - sets out to show the origins, heritage of these whiskies as well as their subtlety, refinement and complexity

  • Yamazaki Bourbon Barrel: the smaller barrels, stored in the warm, humid Yamazaki and Oumi regions, are influenced by local conditions. Over time by the charred oak imparts a sweet vanilla flavour with a tropical fruit, vanilla and caramel nose, a robust, smooth palate and sweet, lingering finish. ABV: 48%. RRP: £70
  • Yamazaki Puncheon: maturation is slower in the larger puncheon cask because the area of whisky in touch with the wood is smaller. This also makes the barrel suited to the mist-shrouded Yamazaki region and which gives the Yamazaki single malt whisky its balance of sweet coconut and vanilla flavours and rich aromas. ABV: 48%. RRP: £70.
  • Yamazaki Sherry Cask: the first cask to be stored at Yamazaki when distilling began in 1923 was made from Spanish sherry oak – a consistent link with the Yamazaki heritage. During ageing the tannins and other polyphenols impart a dark reddish hue and an excellence balance of sweet and sour flavours of raisin, dried fruits and chocolate. ABV: 48%. RRP: £70.
  • Yamazaki Mizunara: Suntory began using Mizunara oak nearly 70 years ago.  Its loose grain created problems for the coopers and there were many critics. Now blenders and whisky aficionados acclaim the complex Oriental fragrance of aloes wood and cinnamon and sweet, lingering aftertaste of a uniquely Japanese whisky. ABV: 48%. RRP: £250.

Unlike other whisky producers, Suntory ages the Yamazaki whiskies in only one cask for the whole of lives before bottling. The whiskies from these casks are then assembled by Suntory master blenders in the premium Yamazaki 12, 18 and 25 year old single malts.

The subtle interplay of wood cask and still sizes, as well as the skill of the blenders, explains the remarkable success of Yamazaki. In 2003 Yamazaki 12 year old was the first Japanese whisky to win a gold medal at the International Spirit Challenge.

Since then Suntory whiskies have been covered in plaudits by whisky connoisseurs around the world garnering over 60 awards. Among them are:

  • Best Single Malt Whisky in the World for the Yamazaki 18 and 25 year old;
  • Best Blended Whisky in the World for Hibiki 21 and 30 year old; and, not least, Best Distiller in the World, awarded in 2010.

Special packs of four, 70cl  bottles, one for each of the Yamazaki woods,  will be available for the on-trade.

Suntory whiskies are distributed by Cellar Trends.

Original source: Company Release