This 12 year old from Yamazaki first came onto the market in 1984 and was the first seriously marketed Japanese single malt whisky.Nose: Fruit galore – there is a punchbowl of green banana, mango, honeydew, and pear – and a thick layer of pink bubblegum. Subsequent nosings give more and more banana, which is starting to verge on overripe. Under all the fruit is a veiled quantity of malt and cereal sugars. Luckily, after a few minutes of rest, the nose becomes dominated by the bubble-gum note, and not the banana.
Palate: Nicely viscous body, and a very mild tongue burn. A touch bitter to start, then some banana and toffee and a slight suggestion of old oak.
Finish: A wave of anise, followed by barbeque char, burned nuts, and bitter lemon. Medium-long.
With Water: A splash of water opens up some black licorice, but doesn’t ameliorate the intensity of the banana notes. It also thins the body. I’d skip the water here.