The Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2016 is perhaps one of this year's most-hyped releases. Its 2013 predecessor was widely praised, which only helped to build demand – and expectations – for the 2016 edition.
That this is a limited release of just 5,000 bottles fuelled the hype, with retailers charging huge markups and bottles being auctioned for up as much as 10 times the sticker price – which was A$450, US$300 and £200, $300USD and $450AUD, if you were fortunate enough to find one on the shelf.
So it this a dram worthy of such drama? Here are my tasting notes.
Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2016 Edition
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: think coffee, mocha, roasted brazil nuts, sherry-soaked raisins. Huge, juicy, full of cherries. An absolutely beautiful nose, although a few drops of water releases a hidden shot of freshness and a creaminess.
Palate: Drying, tannic, and oaky, perhaps too oaky. Sweet Ribena, dark chocolate, dates, sultanas, and those drops of water bring forth a subtle veneer of milk chocolate. So there's quite a bit going on here, all built on an unshakeable foundation of oak which could benefit from being peeled back a little.
Finish: Long, tannic, and quite bitter, with hints of Campari.
Rating: 91/100. It's a quintessential Japanese sherry bomb, yet I can't help but feel it's lingered a little too long in oak.
Details: 48% ABV, A$450
Also read: Three great whiskies to buy duty-free
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