The Yamazaki 55 Year Old: Unveiling the Liquid Legacy

The Yamazaki 55 Year Old: Unveiling the Liquid Legacy
The Yamazaki 55 Year Old 46.0 abv NV (1 BT 70cl), Source - Sotheby's.

Table of Contents

  1. An Emblematic Distillery: The Yamazaki
  2. The Opus: The Yamazaki 55
  3. The Tasting Notes
  4. Why is Yamazaki 55 so expensive?
  5. How much does Yamazaki 55 cost?
  6. How many bottles of Yamazaki 55 are there?

An Emblematic Distillery: The Yamazaki

Source - FT.

The tale of the Yamazaki 55 is inextricably linked to the story of its birthplace: The Yamazaki Distillery, located on the outskirts of Kyoto. It was almost 100 years ago that Shinjiro Torii, founder of Suntory, established Japan’s first-ever malt whisky distillery, pioneering a legacy that would later define the global reputation of Japanese whiskies.

Against the backdrop of skepticism, the Yamazaki distillery broke new ground, delivering a range of whiskies that would not only win international acclaim but also command exceptional value at auctions. Notable among these are the 18 and 25-year-old malts, expressions of patience and precision that have won hearts and palates worldwide.

Over the years, through foresight and meticulous stock management under the watchful eyes of Yamazaki’s Chief Blenders, casks were allowed to mature even further, culminating in the releases of the highly-prized 35 and 50-year-old expressions.

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The Opus: The Yamazaki 55

However, the pinnacle of Yamazaki’s artistry is embodied in the Yamazaki 55, the oldest Japanese Single Malt ever released. Vatted from Mizunara and American White Oak casks distilled by Shinjiro Torii in 1960 and 1964 respectively, the whisky encapsulates over half a century of maturation. Its inception, spanning three generations, was finally brought to life by current Chief Blender Shinji Fukuyo, Shinjiro's grandson, who carefully selected and blended these casks to birth a true masterpiece.

The presentation of the Yamazaki 55 is an experience in itself. Cradled in a black Mizunara oak box that mirrors the casks used in the whisky’s maturation, the bottle is swathed in ink-black handmade Echizen washi paper, secured with a plaited cord of 24 individual strands. Every aspect of the Yamazaki 55 is designed to evoke a sense of timeless tradition and exceptional craftsmanship.

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The Tasting Notes

The color of the Yamazaki 55, a deep amber, speaks of the distinctive Mizunara casks. On the nose, the whisky unfurls a robust aroma reminiscent of sandalwood, layered with the sweet, mature scent of well-ripened fruit. The first sip reveals a silky smooth texture that gradually unfolds a medley of flavors in the mouth - a harmonious dance of sweet and slightly bitter notes, followed by the unmistakable woody essence derived from the Mizunara cask.

The finish, lightly bitter, resonates with the fragrance of scented wood and a subtle hint of smoke. The sweet, rich, and lingering aftertaste ensures that the Yamazaki 55 leaves an unforgettable imprint, a sensory memoir of its extraordinary journey.

Why is Yamazaki 55 so expensive?

The high price of Yamazaki 55 is due to its rarity and age. It is a limited edition whisky, aged for 55 years, making it one of the oldest and most exclusive whiskies from the Yamazaki brand. The use of mizunara oak in the aging process also adds a unique flavor profile that is highly prized among whisky enthusiasts. According to the 'Sotheby's Wine & Spirits Market Report 2022', a bottle of Yamazaki 55 was sold for $595,200 in New York.

How much does Yamazaki 55 cost?

The cost of Yamazaki 55 can vary greatly depending on the market and availability. As per the 'Sotheby's Wine & Spirits Market Report 2022', a bottle of Yamazaki 55 was sold for $595,200 in New York.

How many bottles of Yamazaki 55 are there?

Upon its release in 2020, the extremely limited Yamazaki 55 created a massive wave of excitement among Japanese whisky aficionados and collectors. With just 100 bottles initially available for the domestic Japanese market, and an additional 100 released for the global audience, this limited-edition bottling immediately became a coveted treasure.

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