Yamazaki has been fairly consistent with their annual limited edition special releases. Apart from typically being included in the broader ESSENCE of Suntory Whisky special series that is also released annually, they’ve ironically been more regular with these special releases than they have been with their own core ranges.
What is interesting is that for the 2020 edition which was released sometime in November 2020 and has been starting to pop up at specialist whisky retailers for prices that look like they misplaced the “.00”, it never has been officially announced by Suntory. Yet word is that some leaked promotional materials were provided by Suntory to their distributors and so we gather the following information.
In text form, they are:
Yamazaki Peated Malt 2020 Edition
Yamazaki Bordeaux Wine Cask 2020 Edition
Yamazaki Spanish Oak 2020 Edition
Yamazaki Mizunara Japanese Oak Cask 2020 Edition
Yamazaki Puncheon 2020 Edition
We can expect the tasting notes for them to go something like this,
YAMAZAKI PUNCHEON 2020 EDITION
These come from 480L American Oak Puncheons coopered by Suntory themselves and because of the lower contact ratio of puncheons to spirit (cos Puncheons are shorter and more stout), maturity was slower, and so the distillate is likely to show flavors closer to the original spirit.
Color: Bright Yellow Gold
Nose: Green Apples, Vanilla, Acacia Honey
Palate: Soft and Mellow, Butterscotch
Finish: Slight Bitterness of Oak and Slight Sweetness
(Image Source: Kitchen (Mis)Adventures)
I don’t know about you, but it's stirring thoughts of Sweet and Sour Pork.
YAMAZAKI BORDEAUX WINE CASK 2020 EDITION
These were matured in French wine casks (from Bordeaux if you might ask, fancy schmancy~) which are expected to impart a smooth sweet and sour accent to the Yamazaki.
Color: Amber with Tint of Red
Nose: Berry Fruit Sweetness and Spicy
Palate: Complex, Rich and Thick
Finish: Sweet and Sour, Spiciness of French Oak
This is for die hard wine lovers who are forced to join a whisky tasting session.
YAMAZAKI SPANISH OAK 2020 EDITION
The Spanish Oak is supposedly more tannin rich than the American Oak, which amps up the aromatics. Suntory says they sourced these ex-Sherry casks solely from Spanish Oak because it gives a richer, more concentrated sweetness and sourness to the malt.
Color: Red-hued Dark Amber
Nose: Raisin, Dried Tomato
Palate: Concentrated Sweet and Sourness
Finish: Lasting Acidity and Slight Bitterness
YAMAZAKI PEATED MALT 2020 EDITION
American Oak barrels and hogshead that contained the heavily peated part of the typical Yamazaki blend is where this comes from.
Color: Bright Yellow Gold
Nose: Smokey, Peach
Palate: Softness, Pineapple, Smoked
Finish: Continuing Aromatic Peat
YAMAZAKI MIZUNARA 2020 EDITION
Mizunara is Yamazaki’s secret sauce so how could we go without it? We can expect that distinctive sandalwood, coconut, citrus, oak-y musk.
Nose: Bright Top Notes, Custard Cream, Cinnamon
Palate: Soft on the Tongue, Highly Aromatic, Dense Sweetness
Finish: Memorable Japanese Incense
Final notes from us, if we haaaaad to choose one bottle to try, we’re probably going with the Peated Malt. It’s not only unusual for Yamazaki to be really smokey, and to be honest we’re not MASSIVE peat fans, but it would really be interesting to see how that goes with Yamazaki’s really dense blends versus Scotch whiskies which are typically unblended. Also because of Yamazaki’s usual floral, fruity style, we kinda guess this is gonna go down like smoked cream much like a baked Alaska or something along the lines of Prosciutto on Melons. And that sounds top notch.
Well that’s all we have here for you today folks!
As always, Kanpai!