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Japanese Whisky Dictionary

Single Malt Yamazaki NAS

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“Single Malt Whisky Yamazaki” was launched in 1984. In the 1980s, blended whisky was the mainstream and 100% malt whisky was a drink enjoyed only by a limited number of connoisseurs. However, in the 1980s, blended whiskeys were the norm and 100% malt whiskey was only available to a limited number of enthusiasts. Keizo Saji, the second generation master blender, decided to take on a new challenge “I want to make a single malt whiskey that represents Japan.”

Single malt whisky is a whisky made by combining only the raw whiskies from a single distillery. Single malt whisky is a whisky that is made by combining only the raw whisky produced at a single distillery, which is influenced by the distillery’s commitment to the craft and climate, and reflects the distillery’s individuality. Keizo, who has his eye on the future of Japanese whisky, believes that in an age of diversifying values, single malts with strong individuality will surely be in demand, and he is taking on the challenge of creating whisky that will be sought after in the new age.



Together with the chief blender at the time, Ken Sato, he tasted countless bottles of original whisky in pursuit of the ideal taste. Finally, they arrived at the answer: harmony, where a variety of raw materials mix and enhance each other without any one personality standing out.

Thus, on March 14, 1984, Yamazaki was born, the ultimate single malt whisky, which took about two years to produce.

Now, more than 30 years later, it still reigns as the representative of Japanese single malt whisky.

Reference: Suntory Yamazaki Distillery News

The “崎” in Yamazaki is a combination of the Chinese characters for “山” and “奇” but the character for “崎” on the label is actually a little different, combining the character for “山” with a scrap of the character for “寿” in the former Suntory company name, 寿屋 Kotobuki-ya. The letters were handwritten by Keizo Saji, Suntory’s master blender at the time, which shows his pride and commitment.


The Bottle


Image credit: Yamazaki Lineup Single Malt Whisky Suntory


Aroma A gorgeous, soft vanilla aroma with a hint of Quercus oak barrels. A slight hint of fruit from wine barrels later.
Taste Fullness and sweetness from the malt, woodiness and tannins from the wine barrels, and a fruity berry taste that comes later.
Aftertaste Spicy and slightly alcoholic with an astringent and woody aftertaste.



Alcohol content 43%
alcohol category Single malt whisky
Barrel alcohol Wine casks, Quercus spp. casks, puncheon casks, etc.
Contents 700ml
Number of bottles sold
Suggested retail price 4,620 yen (tax included)
Release date March 14, 1984 (New Yamazaki, the so-called current Yamazaki, was added to the lineup on May 29, 2012)



Our Take

This whiskey has a sweet, soft, fruit-like aroma and a smooth, complex flavor derived from several types of barrels.

It is recommended to drink it on the rocks or in a highball. It has a gorgeous and sweet taste.

On January 8, 2021, Suntory will ease restrictions on whiskey shipments for the first time in 11 years. The whiskey industry was buzzing for a moment.

The targeted products are Chita and Ao. The sales volume of Chita is targeted at 116% of the previous year’s level, and the sales volume of Ao is targeted at 249% of the previous year’s level.

Both Chita and Ao will be released in half bottles (350ml) on March 23 so that people can enjoy them easily at home.

Unfortunately, Yamazaki, Hakushu, and Hibiki will continue to be restricted in shipment.

When will we be able to buy the ever-popular Yamazaki easily? It will be interesting to see what Suntory does in the future.



(All Images Courtesy of JPWhisky.net)


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