Liquor Laboratory

Yamato Japanese Whisky Bottle Price Guide (2024 Best Edition)

yamato whisky buying guide

Last Updated on April 3, 2024 by Lydia Martin

Yamato Japanese Whisky is made from a gorgeous blend of malted barley scotch whisky and Japanese grain. It’s one of the most decadent Japanese whiskies, with notes of licorice and molasses.

Of course, the premium ingredients used in this blend give it quite a hefty price point. Let’s look at everything there is to know about Yamato Japanese Whisky and see if it’s worth the splurge. 

What is Yamato Japanese Whisky? 

Yamato Japanese Whisky

Yamato Japanese Whisky is a small-batch, blended Japanese whisky made by combining malted barley scotch whisky and Japanese grain sourced from the Yamasaki Prefecture. 

Like most other Japanese whiskies, Yamato has a softer and more delicate profile, which many would say is akin to art.

Japanese whiskies are whimsical and cadenced, Yamato Japanese Whisky included. It is silky smooth and rife with fruit and vanilla notes, from its aroma to the finish. 

A Closer Look 

A Closer Look 

History & Origin

Yamato Japanese Whisky was created by Aiko Importers, a nationally-recognized importer of alcoholic beverages based in the United States.

They had the idea to start the label when they noticed the surplus of Japanese grain whiskies in one of the largest distilleries in the Yamanashi Prefecture. 

Aiko acquired the excess whiskies and began to develop Yamato as an exclusive, small-batch brand. Their first bottles were released in 2017. 

How It’s Made 

malted barley

Yamato Japanese Whisky is made from a blend of malted barley scotch whisky and Japanese grains grown in the Yamanashi Prefecture and what is known as the Kofu Basin. 

This location is ideal for growing grains with a unique richness, as it is a land-locked, fertile central valley. The area is surrounded by many of the highest mountains in the country, including the famed Mt. Fiji. 

The company hasn’t disclosed the mash bill used for Yamato Whisky, but many believe there is rice grain somewhere in the recipe. It is non-chill-filtered and bottled at 40 percent ABV. 

But does Costco sell Japanese whiskies?

Aging Process & Age Statement

Yamato Japanese Whisky has no specific age statement, but the scotch and Japanese grains used in the blend are aged anywhere from three to eight years inside Mizunara oak casks. 

Mizunara oak casks are some of the rarest and most expensive cask types to age whiskies in because each tree has to be 200 years old before it can be harvested for cask barrels. 

Whiskies aged inside Mizunara oak are characterized by their sandalwood, coconut, and Japanese incense notes. [1

Learn how to drink Japanese whisky like a pro here.

Ownership & Distillery

Yamato Whisky

Yamato Japanese Whisky is owned by Aiko Importers, a worldwide importer of alcoholic beverages. 

Read: Popular Japanese Whiskies Under $100

Tasting Notes 

Tasting Notes 

  • Palate: It has the light mouthfeel of classic scotch whiskies, but it’s a lot more aromatic and fragrant. It is characterized by light anise, molasses, and licorice flavor notes. 
  • Color/Hue: Yamato Japanese Whisky has a light amber hue. 
  • Nose: Like other Japanese whiskies, Yamato has a fragrant and fruity nose, with cedar and coconut. 
  • Finish: Yamato Whisky has a well-rounded, dry finish with soft oak, toffee, and warm vanilla notes. 

Common Yamato Japanese Whisky Price 

Common Yamato Japanese Whisky Price 

Type Size Alcohol By Volume Average Price
Yamato Japanese Whisky 750ml 40% Around $61.99 

*Average Price from Drizly. Prices may vary in local liquor shops.

Compared to Other Japanese Whiskies

Compared to Other Japanese Whiskies  

Hibiki Japanese Harmony Whisky

Hibiki is one of Beam Suntory’s most popular Japanese whisky brands. Our personal favorite is their 17-year-old bottle, with its fruity profile and buttery mouthfeel. It’s made from an exclusive blend of malt and grain whiskies. 

A 750ml bottle of Hibiki Harmony standard costs around $100, pricier than Yamato. 

Suntory Japanese Whisky

Suntory Japanese Whisky

Suntory is also one of Beam Suntory’s brands and is often credited for pioneering the Japanese whisky industry. The timeless spirit is made with the blend of their proud heritage and innovation. 

A 750ml bottle of Suntory Toki Whisky costs around $50, cheaper than Yamato. 

Yamazaki Japanese Whisky

Yamazaki is another one of Suntory’s bottles and their flagship single malt whisky. It has a smooth and soft mouthfeel, with plenty of tropical fruit notes and a touch of rum. It has a medium-length finish laced with more citrus and fruit. 

A 12-year-old bottle of Yamazaki costs around $200-ish, which is way more expensive than Yamato. 

Read: Iwai Japanese Whisky Guide

Popular Yamato Whisky Cocktail Recipe

Popular Yamato Whiskey Cocktail Recipe 

The Red Akuma

Prep Time: 3 minutes 

Total Time: 3 minutes 


  • ½ cup Yamato Japanese Whisky 
  • 1 cup blood orange juice 
  • 2 tsp agave syrup 
  • 1 chopped jalapeno 


Combine the liquid ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake well. Add the chopped jalapenos and shake everything together three to four times. Strain and pour into a Highball glass with ice. 


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is Yamato real Japanese whisky?

Indeed, Yamato is an emblematic embodiment of Japanese whisky tradition, a testament to the country’s rich heritage of craftsmanship and dedication to excellence. Nestled amidst the idyllic landscapes of Kagoshima Prefecture, the Yamatozakura Distillery stands as a bastion of authenticity, adhering meticulously to the stringent standards set forth by the Japan Spirits & Liqueurs Makers Association. This unwavering commitment to quality ensures that Yamato whisky is not just a libation but a distillation of Japanese culture itself.

From the moment the grains are selected to the final pour into the bottle, every step of Yamato whisky’s production is imbued with precision and care. The master blenders at Yamatozakura Distillery deftly blend malt and grain whiskies in a harmonious union, resulting in a spirit that embodies the essence of Japanese craftsmanship.

This artistry is further elevated through the aging process, as the whisky matures in carefully selected oak barrels, absorbing the subtle nuances of its surroundings to emerge as a refined expression of Japanese whisky tradition.

What does Yamato whiskey taste like?

Prepare your senses for an indulgent journey through the nuanced flavors of Yamato whisky, where every sip is an invitation to explore a world of sensory delight. The first encounter with Yamato whisky is a revelation of its luxuriously smooth texture, caressing the palate with a velvety embrace. As the whisky unfolds on the tongue, layers of complexity reveal themselves, each one a testament to the masterful craftsmanship that went into its creation.

At the heart of Yamato whisky lies a symphony of flavors, carefully orchestrated to captivate and enthrall. Ripe fruits, reminiscent of sun-kissed apples and succulent pears, dance delicately on the palate, their sweetness tempered by a subtle hint of acidity. Meanwhile, the warm embrace of vanilla and caramel, bestowed by the oak barrels in which the whisky is aged, adds depth and richness to the flavor profile, lingering long after the final sip is savored.

But Yamato whisky is more than just a collection of flavors; it is a sensory experience that transcends the ordinary. With each sip, the palate is treated to a delicate interplay of spices, adding a layer of complexity and intrigue that keeps the senses engaged. The finish is nothing short of exquisite, a lingering caress that leaves an indelible impression of sophistication and refinement.

What is the most popular whiskey in Japan?

At the summit of Japan’s whisky landscape reigns Suntory’s illustrious creation, Yamazaki. Renowned for its distinguished heritage and unwavering commitment to quality, Yamazaki whisky stands as a beacon of Japanese whisky excellence. Its unparalleled flavor profile, characterized by a delicate balance of fruity notes, floral undertones, and hints of oak and spice, has captured the hearts and palates of connoisseurs worldwide.

While Yamazaki may hold the title of Japan’s most beloved whisky, the country’s whisky scene is far from monolithic. Indeed, it boasts a rich tapestry of esteemed brands, each contributing its own unique flavor profile and distillation techniques to the vibrant mosaic of Japanese whisky culture.

From the bold, robust flavors of Nikka Whisky to the crisp, refreshing notes of Hakushu, Japan’s whisky offerings are as diverse and multifaceted as the country itself. And yet, amidst this diversity, one thing remains constant: the unwavering commitment to quality and craftsmanship that defines Japanese whisky as a whole.

What is the most expensive bottle of Japanese whisky?

In the realm of luxury spirits, Japanese whisky has made an indelible mark, with some bottles fetching astronomical prices at auctions and exclusive retailers. While the title of the most expensive bottle of Japanese whisky can vary over time due to factors like rarity, limited releases, and the whims of collectors, one notable contender for this prestigious title is the Yamazaki 50-Year-Old single malt whisky.

This exceptional whisky, aged for half a century, represents the pinnacle of Japanese craftsmanship and scarcity, commanding prices that can surpass $300,000 at auction.

The allure of the Yamazaki 50-Year-Old lies not only in its extraordinary age but also in its unparalleled quality and historical significance. Each bottle is a testament to the dedication and skill of the master distillers who carefully nurtured it over five decades, allowing it to develop a complexity and depth of flavor that is unmatched.

From its rich, velvety texture to its nuanced layers of aroma and taste, the Yamazaki 50-Year-Old offers a sensory experience unlike any other, making it a highly coveted treasure among whisky connoisseurs and collectors worldwide.

Is Yamato whiskey rare?

Indeed, Yamato whiskey belongs to the category of rare and sought-after Japanese whiskies, albeit its rarity may vary depending on the specific expression and limited releases. The Yamatozakura Distillery, nestled amidst the serene landscapes of Kagoshima Prefecture, follows a tradition of craftsmanship and excellence that is reflected in each bottle of Yamato whiskey. From the selection of the finest grains and malts to the meticulous blending and aging processes, every step in the production of Yamato whiskey is imbued with care and attention to detail.

The rarity of Yamato whiskey is further enhanced by factors such as limited production runs, small batch releases, and lengthy aging periods. Some expressions of Yamato whiskey may undergo extended maturation in oak barrels, allowing the flavors to develop and intensify over time. As a result, Yamato whiskey embodies not only exceptional quality but also a sense of exclusivity that appeals to collectors and enthusiasts alike.

Collectors often prize Yamato whiskey for its unique flavor profile, which showcases a harmonious balance of sweetness, complexity, and depth. Whether enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or as part of a carefully crafted cocktail, Yamato whiskey captivates the senses with its rich aroma and smooth, lingering finish. Each sip tells a story of tradition, innovation, and passion, making Yamato whiskey a rare and precious gem in the world of Japanese spirits.

Why are Japanese whiskies so expensive?

Several factors contribute to the relatively high cost of Japanese whiskies, distinguishing them as luxury spirits prized by enthusiasts and collectors worldwide.

Firstly, Japanese whiskies are renowned for their exceptional quality and craftsmanship. Distilleries in Japan adhere to strict standards and traditional methods, carefully selecting the finest ingredients and employing skilled artisans to oversee every stage of production. This dedication to excellence results in whiskies of unparalleled complexity and flavor, commanding premium prices in the market.

Additionally, Japanese whiskies often undergo extensive aging processes, with some expressions aged for decades in oak barrels. The investment of time and resources required for such prolonged maturation contributes to the higher cost of these whiskies. Furthermore, limited production capacities and small batch releases add to their scarcity, driving up prices due to the principle of supply and demand.

Global demand for Japanese whiskies has surged in recent years, fueled by their growing reputation for quality and innovation. As a result, distilleries have struggled to keep pace with the increasing demand, leading to shortages and further elevating prices in the market.

Lastly, the collector’s appeal of Japanese whiskies cannot be overlooked. Rare and limited edition bottlings often attract the attention of collectors and investors, who are willing to pay a premium for the opportunity to own a piece of whisky history. This collector’s market further contributes to the high prices of Japanese whiskies, as bottles become prized commodities sought after by enthusiasts around the world.

In summary, the combination of exceptional quality, extensive aging, limited production, global demand, and collector’s appeal all contribute to the relatively high cost of Japanese whiskies, cementing their status as luxury spirits of unparalleled prestige and allure.

Can you drink Japanese whisky straight?

Absolutely, indulging in Japanese whisky neat or straight is a cherished tradition among enthusiasts and connoisseurs alike. It’s a practice that allows aficionados to fully immerse themselves in the rich tapestry of flavors and aromas that Japanese whisky offers. Drinking Japanese whisky straight provides a purer tasting experience, devoid of any dilution or alteration that might occur with mixers or ice. By savoring it neat, you can discern the intricate nuances and subtleties that make Japanese whisky so revered.

The decision to drink Japanese whisky straight is a testament to its exceptional quality and craftsmanship. With each sip, you embark on a journey through layers of complexity, from the initial burst of flavor to the lingering finish that leaves a lasting impression. Whether enjoyed as a moment of quiet reflection or shared among friends, Japanese whisky straight promises a sophisticated and rewarding tasting experience that captivates the senses.

While drinking Japanese whisky straight is a popular choice, it’s worth noting that there are no strict rules when it comes to enjoying this exquisite spirit. Some may prefer to enhance the experience by adding a splash of water, which can help unlock additional flavors and aromas. Others may opt to enjoy it on the rocks, allowing the chill of the ice to subtly alter the whisky’s character.

Ultimately, the choice is yours, and the beauty of Japanese whisky lies in its versatility and ability to accommodate a variety of tastes and preferences.

What proof is Yamato whisky?

The proof of Yamato whisky can vary depending on the specific expression and bottling strength chosen by the distillery. Yamato whisky, like many Japanese whiskies, is bottled at a range of proofs to cater to different preferences and styles of consumption. This variation in proof allows for a diverse range of drinking experiences, from the mellow and approachable to the bold and robust.

Typically, Yamato whiskies are bottled at a proof ranging from around 80 to 100 (40% to 50% alcohol by volume). However, some expressions may be bottled at higher proofs, especially cask strength releases, which can exceed 100 proof (50% alcohol by volume) or even higher. The proof of Yamato whisky is usually indicated on the bottle label, providing consumers with essential information about its alcohol content and strength.

The choice of proof for Yamato whisky is a carefully considered decision made by the master distillers and blenders at the Yamatozakura Distillery. It is influenced by factors such as flavor profile, aging process, and desired drinking experience.

Whether bottled at a lower proof for a smoother and more approachable taste or at a higher proof for a more intense and robust flavor profile, Yamato whisky promises a sophisticated and memorable drinking experience that showcases the best of Japanese whisky craftsmanship.

In Summary 

Yamato Japanese Whisky is a premium Japanese whisky brand that you should definitely try at least once. 

It’s made with the principle that you only need to look hard enough to find inspiration for the next big thing, which came in the form of surplus grain whiskies for them.

That, blended with malted barley scotch whisky, became one of the biggest Japanese whisky brands today. 

Its flavor notes of light anise, molasses, and licorice make it the perfect choice for sipping or blending into high-end Japanese whisky cocktail drinks. 


  1. What Is a Mizunara Oak Cask, and Why Is Every Distillery Obsessed With It?
Lumint ad Side Bar
Flex Ad Side Bar