Nikka Yoichi 10 Year Old Japanese Single Malt: We’ve looked at some single malt Nikka before in the shape of the 15-year-old expression Miyagikyo. But finding an age statement single malt from Nikka is becoming increasingly harder and I shall explain why. The Yoichi distillery was founded in 1934, some 30 miles west of Sapporo on the Island of Hokkaido. The Yoichi distillery gets its water from an underground source that runs through peat, resulting in water that is exceptional for producing whisky and of course lending to Yoichi’s distinct flavour profile. In case you were unaware, Mr. Taketsuru is a legend in the Japanese whisky industry having helped to set up the country’s first single malt distillery of Yamazaki in 1923, before going out on his own, forming Nikka and building Yoichi. Interestingly enough, the Yoichi distillery makes use of small pot stills that till this day, continue to be heated by direct flame, fired by coal, which is very traditional and a method that most Scottish distilleries have now abandoned. Though, I can’t help think this adds even more character to an already wonderful dram of whisky.
On the nose: a beautiful waft of sweet lychees, vanilla and a rose-water like note. Notes of roasted almonds will start to emerge, followed by notes of peaches, aniseed, figs and an interesting butterscotch. After a few swirls in the glass, notes of intense oak, cinnamon, star anise, vanilla and nutmeg become more pronounced. Rounding off the notes are notes of caramel, light plums, sea salt and delicate hints of peat. On the palate: those sweet peaches are ever-present, followed by lychees, butterscotch and peat. The palate is much spicier and notes of cinnamon and nutmeg are welcomed, alongside, oak and a hint of orange zest. The palate is nicely rounded off with salty caramel and notes of a nutty nature. The finish: long, peppery, with lingering smoke and oak.
The verdict: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I’m always intrigued by Japanese whisky and I’m yet to be disappointed. This 10-year-old Yoichi has a lovely combination of notes that just seem to keep expanding with more and more breathing time. It is a full-bodied whisky that is perfectly balanced. Nikka Yoichi 10yo has an ABV of 45% – making it a whisky that in my opinion, didn’t need any water at all. However, if you want to access the plethora of notes on offer – you’ll have to add a few drops of mineral water.
Nikka Yoichi 10-year-old Japanese Single Malt Whisky is available online or in well-stocked Whisky Shops, for approximately £80 – 105. I made a note at the beginning that aged statements of Nikka’s single malt whisky is becoming harder to find, well that is because Nikka have decided to cut production of their aged single malt whisky and from now on you will see more of their non-age statement. After all, when the whisky is good age ain’t nothing but a number, right? While this does of course increase the price of aged single malts that are still knocking around, in my honest opinion they definitely worth the hassle.
For more information on the Yoichi 10-year-old, visit the official Nikka website.