Yamazaki Sherry Cask notes and review: Best whisky in the world? Really?

Tomorrow is the last day of 2014 and it will be the day of the year summary post so today, we’ll take a look at one semi-controversial whisky: Yamazaki Sherry Cask.

jm2015_smallWhy is it controversial? Because a guy with a panama hat selected the latest revision (2013) as the best whisky in the world in his best seller “Whisky Bible 2015” book.

Now, Mr. Murray isn’t a newcomer to controversial selections as many eyebrows were also raised upon his selections in the last 2 years with Glenmorangie Ealanta and Thomas H Handy Sazerac 2011.

So, as a whisky geek, I was very curious to taste this whisky (of course ) and see what’s all the fuss is about. Thanks to a friend (Thanks again Manny!), I managed to taste it along with Michael (See his review on Malt and Oak blog).

But before I diving into the tasting notes allow me to say that I’m a firm believer that whisky tastes and opinions are subjective. Each one has different taste buds, different set of senses, different past experience and you just cannot take ones selection and adopt it to yourself and not expect some fissures and disagreements between his notes and ranking and your own.

Frankly, my theory is that this selection was consciously done to provoke the public and to raise a discussion in the whisky community and the Scottish distilleries, and of course, to sell more books.

Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2009 (48%, NAS)

yamazaki sherry cask 2009Nose: Fresh wood polish and color with vinegary sherry and sour berries. Then comes huge sweet concentrated plums and hints of pepper and exotic spices.

Palate: Sherried and very concentrated with lots of dark berries, sweet black plums. It’s kinda spicy but very restrained with pepper and all spice. There’s also espresso and concentrated wine vinegar.

Finish: Medium-long length with dry wood polish, plums, mild oak and lingering sweet espresso.

Thoughts: Delicious dram showing  a very good and balanced whisky. Is it the best whisky in the world? This one is not the same batch that won the title (2009 vs 2013) but I seriously doubt there’s such a huge difference between the revisions and for me it’s not. I’ve tasted far better drams this year, expensive ones and affordable ones and it’s not one that comes on top. But then again, I don’t think you can take one person selection (even if he has a panama hat), his senses and logic and apply it on other peoples and assume it will work for them the same way. Still, it’s a very good dram but now as it was crowned in that prestigious title, its price has skyrocketed to the stratosphere and most likely is out of our reach. If you do see it in the original RRP price (ot below), I’d recommend you get a bottle but not at the on-going prices. And remember: it’s not that a big loss as there are other good drams out there to taste. Find another good whisky and enjoy it.


3 thoughts on “Yamazaki Sherry Cask notes and review: Best whisky in the world? Really?

  1. Tony

    Look, for the money these are going for – if you have one sell it, and use the money to buy a really bloody good old sherried whisky (like a ’72 Glendronach, or a decent Glenfarclas like the 40 y.o. or a good Family Cask or the 1966 Fino cask) or book a skiing holiday and pick up a 15 yo Glenfarclas at duty free, or even trade up to an 18 y.o Yamazaki or 1993 Glendronach and keep £700 change, anything rather than drink this very good but not outstanding and utterly overpriced NAS.


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