In exciting news for Japanese whiskey fans, House of Suntory, producer of some of the most beloved and award-winning Japanese whiskey, has existed, announced a new and reformulated Yamazaki 25-year release.
Led by Suntory’s world-famous master blender, Shinji Fukuyo, the new Yamazaki 25 moves away from focusing on vintages in sherry casks and towards a more varied approach to oak types. The new term includes liquid aged in American oak, Spanish oak and to the delight of fans, Japanese Mizunara oak. While Suntory’s Yamazaki Sherry Cask releases are some of the most sought-after Japanese whiskeys in existence, the new 25-year-old term is likely to draw a larger audience through the balance of tones coming from ripening in different types of oak. Spice from the Spanish oak, sweetness from ex-Bourbon dishes and Eastern incense and spice from Mizunara, to name a few. Since each drop in the bottle must be at least 25 years old, each type of oak must have a chance to shine through.
‘My inspiration for Yamazaki 25 was the Yamazaki 1984 Declaration, which was awarded the ultimate recognition of Supreme Champion Spirit at the International Spirits Challenge in 2010,’ ‘said Shinji Fukuyo. ‘We went back to the key component whiskey in Yamazaki. We deliberately chose to highlight the depth and depth of the remarkable Japanese Mizunara Oak. For in its careful balance with the American and Spanish oak, Yamazaki’s signature is accentuated by its multi-layered taste profile and complex aroma. ‘
For the unknown, the 1984 Yamazaki is yet another award-winning expression from the distillery, which today sells for over US $ 10,000 at auction. As mentioned, the Mizunara ripening in oak produces eastern scents, incense and other notes rarely found in whiskey. Based on the reviews and complexity of 1984, this recipe is a good ‘blueprint’ to follow for the new Yamazaki 25.
The notes to the new expression sound nice with a nose filled with incense, spice and citrus notes of persimmons and oranges. The palate delivers the familiar sandalwood notes from Mizunara with continued orange, persimmon and some Japanese Yuzu notes. The spice and a hint of ginger lead to a long finish filled with spice, some sweetness and a hint of smoke.
The new release features a new box and label handmade using mulberry Echizen paper produced ‘via a slow drying process on wood panels (a traditional Japanese method).’
The term will stand at 43% ABV, 750 ml, and has suggested a sale price of only US $ 2,000.
Thoughts on collection
The number of bottles released is not mentioned in the announcement, but if the previous Yamazaki 25 awards give any indication, it is that the release will be very limited. As with most new expressions from Suntory, the previously released ones tend to increase in value as drinkers realize that they will never be produced again. We have previously seen this happen with the Yamazaki Limited Edition series when it concluded in 2017, the Yamazaki Sherry Cask series when it was discontinued, and of course the tip of the Yamazaki 50-year-old awards after the newer Yamazaki 55-year-old broke a world record at auction.
Therefore, we can expect the previous Yamazaki 25-year-old releases to rise in price after the new reformulated term hits the market. However, I urge everyone to be careful as many of the older bottles enter the market at very inflated prices sold by those who want to monetize the press around the new release. If it’s reasonable and you really want a bottle, you should go ahead anyway, but you should not pay an amount you can regret later.
Some words of caution – Suntory will continue to produce Yamazaki 25, and with the aging stock now replenished, they do not have to stop it soon. The future will see more and more older stock from Suntory; more 18YO, 25YO and others, so there is no need to pay 100-300% mark ups for existing terms.
Let us patiently wait for this new beauty to arrive. Suntory rarely releases new age expressions, so this is definitely a hit. Better act fast!