Ever since Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2013 was named the “World Whisky of the Year” in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2015, it has become one of the most highly covetable whiskies on the planet. In the wake of the award, sales of Japanese whiskey exploded and new, non-age statement releases (such as Hibiki Harmony) were brought to market to help relieve some of the demand. The company has now followed their legendary 2013 release with the Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2016, an exquisite single malt that will undeniably be pretty difficult to find. The House of Suntory released just 5,000 bottles of their new offering on February 1 for a suggested retail price of $300. So, is it worth it? In our opinion, definitely.
Photo Credit: Emily Arden Wells
All of the whiskies produced by the House of Suntory are meticulously made with an incredible attention to detail. Chief Blender, Shinji Fukuyo, travels to Spain every year to select the casks which are used to age the Yamazaki Sherry. This process ensures that the casks are not only high quality, but will also meet the desired flavor profile and produce a delicate spirit. The 2016 release has a gorgeous nose of sherry, caramel, raisins, Christmas cake, dried pineapples and apricots. It starts soft on the palate and builds to show the signature sherry spiciness with dried prunes, cinnamon, spiced apples, roasted hazelnuts and mocha. It boasts a long, bittersweet finish. When served on the rocks the new release is creamier than its predecessor, and pairs well with dark chocolate and caramel. If your want to try making the perfect dessert to to pair the whiskey with, try the below Golf Bar from the award-winning chef, Paul Liebrandt. It may be complicated, but if you can pull it off, the result will surely be to die for.
Given the limited release of the Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2016, it is a sure bet that many bottles are going to be snapped up by collectors. Which means, you better buy two: one to enjoy with friends and one to cellar as a retirement investment.
Photo Credit: Evan Sung
Gold Bar Pairing Recipe From Chef Paul Liebrandt
Gold Bar Base
Blend the crumbs with the feuilletine. Melt the chocolate over a double boiler. Fold crumbs into the white chocolate and season with salt. Spread thinly between two sheets of grease-proof paper and roll out with a rolling pin. Cut out a square with a mold that is 8x8x1-inch, but leave the mold around the dough so that the dough is the base for the caramel and chocolate.
Cook the sugar and glucose to a light caramel. Add salt, cocoa butter and deglaze with the cream. Dissolve all the sugars in the caramel and pour over the chocolate and butter. Emulsify. Pour over the dough (with mold still in place) and cool in the blast chiller so the caramel sets.
Gold Bar Cremeux
Bloom the gelatin in an ice water bath. Make and anglaise to 85c and add the gelatin to it. Strain the anglaise over the chocolate and emulsify with a hand blender. Pour over the caramel and blast chill to set it. Once it is set, remove the mold and cut into 1x4-inch pieces.
Melt the butter and pate de caco over a double boiler. Heat together the glucose, water and half of the sugar to make a syrup. Combine the pate de caco mixture and sugar syrup. Sift the remaining sugar with the pectin and cocoa powder. Stream the sufar/pectin mix into the syrup and bring to a simmer. Simmer for two minutes and strain through a chinois and cool. Once cool, spread paper thin onto parchment papers. Bake at 345 degrees with no fan for eight minutes. Cool at room temperature and peel away the parchment.
Swift together sugar and black cocoa. Bring cream and water to a boil and stream in the sugar/cocoa mix. Boil and dissolve, add bloomed gelatin sheets. Pour over the chocolate and emulsify. Cool to 86 degrees and glaze cut gold bars on a wire rack at this temperature. Assemble with dentile on either side of chocolate bar and top with gold leaf.