Last Updated on December 29, 2022 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 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
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
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.
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. 
Learn how to drink Japanese whisky like a pro here.
Ownership & Distillery
Yamato Japanese Whisky is owned by Aiko Importers, a worldwide importer of alcoholic beverages.
- 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
|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
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 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.
Popular Yamato Whisky 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.
Is Yamato good whisky?
Yes, Yamato is definitely a good whisky. Its outstanding richness could only come from premium grains, balanced with fruit and cedar flavor notes.
Is Yamato Japanese Whisky better than Scotch?
No, we wouldn’t say that Yamato Japanese Whisky is better than Scotch. On the contrary, both can be comparable to the other because they follow the same distilling methods and use the same base ingredients.
Although generally, Japanese whisky has a less peaty flavor than Scotch.
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.
Lydia Martin hails from Redmond, Washington, where you’ll find some of the best cocktail bars and distilleries that offer a great mix of local drinks. She used to work as a bar manager in Paris and is a self-taught mixologist whose passion for crafting unique cocktails led her to create Liquor Laboratory. Lydia can whip up a mean Margarita in seconds! Contact at [email protected] or learn more about us here.