Sniffed this after tasting the Hakushu 10, which I said had a fairly pronounced nose. Well, this one very nearly took my nose off: freshly painted rooms and antifreeze were the first thoughts but I detected some floral and smokey notes in there after the paint dried. The palate was a bit of a surprise after the hyperactive nose: quite a restrained, well rounded drink. I definitely preferred it to the Yamazaki 12. It was sweet at first, then dried off a bit with a well controlled oaky flavour hitting the back of the mouth. It was never out of control like its elder brother.
Reviews by others
Although this Yamazaki 10 is widely marteted in Japan, there is limited information about it on the Japanese or English internets.
There is one review on the Maltmaniacs.org website by Ho-cheng Yao, who gave a 79/100 ("above average") rating on a 2004 bottling.
Gavin Smith at Whisky-pages.com described it as being a good "aperitif whisky". He found its nose light and fruity, with a touch of honey. In the mouth, he said it was "medium-bodied, malty and mildly spiced, with a drying, increasingly nutty finish".
For a Japanese take on Gavin Smith's aperitif idea, this place in Tochigi prefecture is serving it with some delicious looking smoked Ayu fish. The Japanese tend to like something a little more substantial than olives and crackers with their drinks.
On their Japanese website, Suntory themselves describe Yamazaki 10 as a "refreshing" dram that is "estery (florid)" on the nose. They say it has a smooth subtlety which strengthens to something more bold in the mouth. This is a market-place description and there may be a bit of snake-oil salesmanship in there but Yamazakis do tend to be in that floral type of territory.
40 per cent
Price (September 2007)
700 ml - 4,200 yen