The whisky distiller, famous for upstaging Scottish standbys to be crowned “Best Whisky in the World” in 2014, recently renovated their open-to-the-public facilities. We figured it was as good an excuse as any for a tour and tasting!

As a whisky brand, Suntory’s “Yamazaki” needs no introduction. The name has been around since 1923, when the distillery opened as Japan’s first commercial whisky distillery (Nikka’s first distillery wouldn’t be established for another decade or so). Yamazaki has long been associated with quality, but the brand’s already prestigious pedigree got a major boost in 2014 when the Yamazaki Single Malt Sherry Cask 2013 was named “Best Whisky in the World” by the The Whisky Bible.


Perhaps in anticipation of an increase in whisky tourists from around the world following this honor, Suntory recently renovated the Whisky Museum attached to the distillery — an area that’s open to the public for educational tours and tastings. Obviously, we decided we ought to go check it out.

The newly renovated facilities unsurprisingly include a tasting counter, but the area will now also feature a new exhibition explaining the history of Yamazaki and the birth of the famous Yamazaki Single Malt, as well as a new collection of bottles that from over the years that form a Yamazaki whisky timeline. As the Yamazaki brand has grown exponentially in prominence, would-be guests will find that the mega-popular distillery tour is booked out months in advance. But, on our recent trip to the facilities, we found the Whisky Museum exhibition deeply informative enough to interest both whisky beginners and hardcore enthusiasts alike, and you may be able just walk right in! Reservations are encouraged, however, according to Yamazaki’s website.



If you’re one of the lucky few that manages to bag a reservation for the distillery tour, you’ll be able to enjoy a free tasting lineup at the end of the tour, but the museum’s tasting trays, running 100-300 yen (about US$0.85–2.50) per sampling snifter, certainly aren’t a bad deal, either. We felt pretty sophisticated smelling and tasting a variety of whiskys and bantering about their flavor profiles using all the fancy new words we’d learned from touring the building. Sadly, we all forgot our monocles, but it didn’t make the whisky taste any less impressive.

The tasting menu, featuring an impressive array of Yamazaki labels


The distillery, located — go figure — near Yamazaki Station, is convenient to anyone visiting Osaka, at a 25-minute train ride from JR Osaka Station. If you’re in the area, why not drop by for a sophisticated tipple and some in-depth whisky learnin’?





Center information
Yamazaki Whiskey Museum / 山崎ウイスキー館
Address: 5 Chome-2-1 Yamazaki, Shimamoto-chō, Mishima-gun, Ōsaka-fu 618-0001
Open 10:00 a.m.-4:45 p.m. (Last entry at 4:30 p.m.)
Facilities are closed over the New Year’s holiday period.
English website

Photos © RocketNews24
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