A testament to the art and experience of a master. This complex, delicate, and delicious whiskey shows what is possible by using multiple wood/barrel stocks to take bourbon to a level usually only seen with a fine Scotch or Japanese whiskey.
Notes: An interesting collaboration within the Beam Suntory company. While there are a number of previous expressions of Legent Bourbon of various ages, this most recent release seems to be the pinnacle. This is a bourbon that was aged in Yamazaki Whisky cask in Japan. That is a very simplified description. The complex and highly nuanced details are thus: Essentially, this whiskey is comprised of 4 different bourbon whiskies – all of which are eight years old- that were aged in different barrel stocks and then blended together- the sum being much greater than their constituent parts ( having tried all four separately at a guided tasting in New Orleans). First is a bourbon aged in French wine casks, the second is bourbon aged in Spanish Sherry casks, and the third is a bourbon aged in Spanish Sherry casks, which previously held Yamazaki Single Malt Japanese Whiskey. The fourth and final bourbon is an 8-year-old Kentucky bourbon aged in new charred American oak barrels. All of these whisky stocks were transported to the Yamazaki Distillery in Osaka, Japan to age in their unique climate that features distinct seasons and a warm, humid climate ( ideal for whiskey aging for a number of reasons). This is where the magic happens. Legent is a collaborative effort between Master Distiller Fred Noe of Jim Beam (and son of Booker Noe) and Fifth Generation Master Blender Shinji Fukuyo of Yamazaki Whiskey, displaying the Japanese Tsukuriwake or “diversity of making,” and American craft and know-how of bourbon production to give birth to a stunning collaborative whiskey that spans cultures to deliver a singular whiskey.
Appearance: Clear as a bell, a limpid pool of Baltic golden amber in the glass. On swirling, it leaves a medium coat with a rapidly forming meniscus line with long legs and a fairly rapid return from whence it came.
First Impression: Despite its relatively high proof, it is very well integrated, almost gentlemanly in its stately but dense and complex bouquet. A very malty, grain, toffee, old leather, allspice, persimmons, and dark fruit(dates, figs, plums), integrated splendidly with the not inconsiderable proof (114) to make for a harmonious and extremely well-balanced and subtle blend.
Taste: Very smooth entry, rounded and slightly heavy mouthfeel with a mildly sweet entry that then starts to transform into a drier, more malt and cereal grain palette, almost biscuity. Slightly drying and mildly sweet midpalate of malted grain, wood, sherry, charred oak notes, leather, dark fruit, and spice, with a nicely lingering finish. It has shiripin. Delicious and multilayered, it is a very complex blend showing a very deft and delicate hand.
Drinks: We tried the Ume Boulevardier Highball, Koji Old Fashioned, and of course, the Legent Yamazaki Cask Finish Blend Neat. All were delicious. I would definitely enjoy it neat in a proper glass (a Glencairn, Riedel, or Neat Glass) but the cocktails are not to be missed either! Some of the cocktails can be found here
Bottle: Cylindrical heavy decanter type bottle using nice glass, good balance. Neck is long enough to have a comfortable grip with a collar enough to make control of the pour easy. Understated label graphics are a nice balance between art and information.
Other: This bottling is a limited edition one-time release. Grab one while you can, as this bottling is one-time only!
Final Thoughts: An amazing testament and marriage to vision and experience delivers a whiskey of amazing complexity and genius being able to synthesize such skillful blending of components that are quite distinct from each other ( I had the privilege of trying all the component whiskies they cover a large range of taste and other sensory components). This whiskey is one of the best examples of a blenders art with bourbon that I have seen in a long time and sets a new standard for multiwood blending/aging.
Website: Legent Yamazaki Cask Finish Blend
A rather minimal, not to say ultimately disappointing, website with a dearth of information frankly.