Time for another whisky from the Suntory distillery in Japan. This time it’s the Yamazaki Puncheon, so called because this whisky is aged in a 480-litre puncheon cask made from American white oak – the idea being that the larger casks allows the whisky to mature more slowly than their usual 230-litre hogshead cask.

Colour: straw, and much paler than the photograph suggests. On the nose: a very clean sherry note at first, then something more akin to red wine. Big juicy grapes. A gentle sweetness to follow. Blood orange.

In the mouth: lots of subtle, complex flavours. Mimics the nose somewhat. Grapes again, vanilla notes, pepper – very well balanced. Not much weight in the mouth, and very clean, which together makes for a rather short, citrusy finish. It’s a good dram, but not a great one. There’s nothing here that leaps out as different.

At sixty-odd quid a bottle, this strikes me as one for Yamazaki collectors only.


I've written about (and reviewed) whisky for Whisky Magazine, among other publications, and have been a whisky judge for competitions including the World Whiskies Awards. I've done other writing too: several mass market genre novels, a few short stories, including for BBC Radio 4. For my day job (I know, I don't get out much) I work in digital content. Follow me on Instagram.com/maltreview/ or Twitter.com/MaltReview. Generally, my tastes lean towards ex-sherry cask and ex-wine cask influences on the spirit, but I'm not so fussed as long as the whisky's gone into good wood.

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