[Review] Yamazaki - 12 years old 1980's 43%


Today we've got a bit of a treat: the Yamazaki 12 years old, 43%, from the 1980’s, courtesy of @mark_littler_ltd #roundrobinwhisky part II

This is probably one of the first ever releases of Yamazaki Single Malt (or Pure Malt at the time) as Suntory started releasing it in 1984 and this bottle dates back to the 1980’s.

I’m definitely ready for a taste of this little piece of Japanese whisky history!

My tasting notes


Very fruity with some peach, passion fruit, pear, melon and lemon. Lots of honey and barley sweetness too. A little toffee, pear drops, quite waxy and musty nose. After a couple of minutes in the glass, you get more oak coming through. What a start!


The palate is richer than the nose and less fruit-forward in my opinion. It’s quite mouth-coating and earthy. I get some woody vanilla notes, a little spice, some toffee and near-burnt caramel (bitter notes), barley sugar, oak spice, hints of dried fruit and slight cough syrup (at least the one I used to have in France as a kid).


Not overly long, quite malty, nutty with some caramel notes lingering, nutmeg and a whiff of smoke and some wood char.

With water:

A few drops take some of the sweetness away from the nose, less yellow fruit and honey but more green fruit, citrus and fresh wood. The palate gains in vanilla sweetness and spicy oak notes. The finish is a mix caramel wafer biscuits and spicy wood notes.

This is a fantastic drop! I prefer the fruitier, sweeter nose without water but then prefer the palate with a few drops of H2O.

And looking at the auction price for these 80’s bottles (between £200 and £300) I think it’s pretty decent value for money (even if I’m in no way a Japanese whisky expert!)

Thanks again to @mark_littler_ltd for such an opportunity. All I’ve got left to do is sign the bottle and pass it on to @pdwyer92 for his review on @thisiswhiskywednesday

Slàinte all!

Check out Mark's YouTube channel and website:

Youtube - Mark Littler Ltd



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