Yamazaki Puncheon, 48%

Price: $112 Issue: Winter 2012 Reviewer: Dave Broom

Yamazaki's puncheons contain 480 liters and are made at the distillery's cooperage from American white oak. The greater size means there are lower levels of oak extract, immediately apparent in the paler hue and more restrained aromas, where flowers mix with the gentle blandness of pear, lychee and, with water, pineapple. Best neat, here is distillery character (or one of the distillery characters, Yamazaki makes many styles) to the fore. Less immediate than the bourbon barrel, but ultimately more rewarding. £70