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Yamazaki Single Malt Sherry Cask 2013

Aged in casks which used to hold oloroso sherry, this whisky was named "Whisky of the Year" by the Whisky Bible.

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In February 1899, Shinjiro Torii opened a store in Osaka, Japan that imported and sold wine. Within a decade, Torii began producing his own sweet grape wine called Akadama Port Wine, which became wildly popular throughout the country. In 1923, Torri, who had been fascinated by whisky his entire life, decided to expand his business and began construction of the Yamazaki Distillery, Japan's first-ever whisky distillery.

Although inspired by traditional Scottish distilleries, Torii envisioned a uniquely Japanese approach to whisky and chose a location for his distillery that offered a climate and terrain that were completely different to those of Scotland. Nestled on the periphery of Kyoto, Yamazaki Distillery is situated at the confluence of three rivers — the Katsura, Uji and Kizu — that provide the warm, damp environment ideal for the production and maturation of whisky.

The Yamazaki Single Malt Sherry Cask 2013 is made from 100% malted barley, which is milled and mashed before being fermented with water sourced from the foothills of Mount Tenno. The water is said to be have been preferred by Sen No Rikyu, Japan's legendary tea master. After the barley has been fermented, the wash is distilled through Suntory's copper-pot stills — the first of their kind outside of Scotland — before the whisky is aged in casks which used to hold oloroso sherry giving it a rich and fruity taste profile.

"This is all done by hand — the traditional way," says Osamu Abe, the manager of Yamazaki distillery, referring to the cooperage taking place at the distillery. "This is called yagura — craftsmanship. You must watch and listen to how they're made. In Japan, we say "˜use all 5 senses.' Of course we learn from others, but our own senses are key.

Yamazaki Single Malt Sherry Cask 2013 has a sweet, thick, nutty aroma, with dark spices, plum, nuts, lending way to a pinch of honey and fruitcake on the palate. The finish is long, light and full of fruit, with a hint of spice.

Yamazaki Single Malt Sherry Cask 2013 was named "Whisky of the Year" by Jim Murray's Whiskey Bible. However, it is not available in the United States. The Yamazaki 12 Year Old Single Malt Japanese Whisky and the Yamazaki 18 Year Old Single Malt Japanese Whisky are both available as well as Ardbeg Uigeadail Single Malt Scotch Whisky, which is a past "Whisky of the Year" winner.

A sweet, thick, nutty aroma, with dark spices, plum, nuts, and a pinch of honey and fruitcake on the palate. The finish is long, light and full of fruit, with a hint of spice.

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