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Monday, 1st February 2016
In General Japan News,

First bottles of Yamazaki whisky leave the distillery today

It is a hotly anticipated event, but the first bottles of this year’s Yamazaki whisky are set to leave the Kyoto distillery today (February 1st).

For anyone who thought the best whisky in the world comes from Scotland, the Japanese would like you to think again.

Their own version of the single malt has become world-renowned after the last batch scored 97.7 out of 100 in The Whisky Bible.

The Suntory Whisky House, which produces the malt, is the oldest distiller of whisky in Japan and has obviously found a formula that works.

As such, the 2016 version is being awaited with much expectation and those experts that have sampled it claim it can meet the hype head on.

“Highly fragrant,” was how one expert described it when talking to The Independent, adding that “the sherry influence [it is aged in sherry casks] spreading outwards from a tight core of cocoa nibs, cardamom, barks and spices with just a tiny bite of iodine.”

It seems that Suntory has responded to the new-found popularity by doubling prices, with a 2016 vintage 70-centilitre bottle retailing at £200.

While this may seem steep, those keen to get their hands on the previous vintage will find they are only available online for £3,000 or more.

Suntory’s chief blender Shinji Fukuyo, certainly has an eye for detail; from choosing the sherry casks in Spain to overseeing each barrel’s charring, he does not delegate any of the important decisions.

He has made it clear that this latest whisky was not created with the novice in mind, but has been blended for the connoisseur of Suntory whiskies.

Of the 5,000 bottles to be produced in this vintage, 1,500 will stay in Japan; 1,500 shipped to the US and 2,000 available in Europe.

While Selfridges and Harvey Nichols will both stock the Yamasaki 2016 whisky, demand is so high that the Master of Malt website will be allocating buyers through a lottery system.