For relaxing times, make it Suntory time
The Yamazaki Whiskey Distillery is the oldest distillery in Japan. It was built in 1923 near Kyoto, in an area where the soft ‘Rikyu’ water is among the top 100 spring waters of Japan.
Guided Tour Facilities
Second Distillery Building
Suntory Yamazaki Distillery c.1923
An old still on display at the entrance to the distillery
Tasting room building
It was my first time to visit a distillery so I had no idea what to expect. I think the Yamazaki Distillery is the biggest thing I’ve seen in Japan. It kind of felt like I was in Canada because the ceilings were so high and there were so many open spaces. The tour was really interesting and the distillery is really cool to see. Also, free tour + free booze = obvious choice.
Fermentation Process…looks like hot tub party to me
My favorite part (other than the drinking part) was the distillation room. I thought the stills were really beautiful and majestic, like gold wizard hats (sounds weird but seriously, look at them).
Distillation Process (Wash Still)
Both direct-fire distillation and evaporation distillation are used
Young malt whisky is produced immediately after distillation
I don’t know what this is for
This looks like a mad scientist lab
Mmm, smells like whiskey!
I always like walking into the cask room of wineries and the distillery was no different. It’s kind of mysterious and spooky, a little bit cooler and it smells like wood. Mmm…wood smell…
Oak casks of varying ages
The woodiness of the cask becomes more refined after it’s been used 2 or 3 times
12 year old cask and 4 year old cask demonstrates the “angel’s share”: the amount of whiskey that evaporates during the maturation process
Barrels on barrels of the stuff
There are about 5 different types of casks that are used at Yamazaki. These different casks allow for variants in whiskey flavour. The cask material is one of the main ingredients of the whiskey, giving it an amber tint and mature aroma.
The distillery has it’s own peaceful garden including a waterfall
And of course the distillery has it’s own shrine to pray to the whiskey gods
At the tasting: A whiskey soda and water
A variety of single malt whiskies including the Yamazaki and Hakushu (another Suntory distillery) 10, 12, 18 + 25 year olds
The Yamazaki 25 Year Old Whiskey won the WWA 2012 World’s Best Single Malt Whiskey Award