We’ve posted quite a bit of tasting notes on Nikka whisky in past and even just a recently as last week and if you read last weeks notes then you can skip the next lot of information and move straight to the tasting notes. 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. We’ve tasted the 15-year-old expression from the Miyagikyo distillery before but have yet to taste the 15-year-old expression from the Yoichi distillery, until now that is.
On the nose: a beautiful waft of sweet lychees, fresh but yet ripe peaches, vanilla and lovely undertone of peat. Notes of roasted almonds will start to emerge, followed by notes rose-water, aniseed, figs and butterscotch. After a few swirls in the glass, notes of intense oak, cinnamon, star anise and nutmeg become more pronounced. Rounding off the nose are notes of green herbaceous nature, walnuts, a leathery like note and tobacco. On the palate: those sweet peaches are ever-present, followed by lychees, butterscotch and peat. The palate is much spicier and notes of cinnamon, cloves and pepper are welcomed, alongside oak and a hint of lemon zest. The palate is nicely rounded off with salty caramel, dark chocolate, poached pears and coffee. The finish: long, peppery, with lingering peat and bitter chocolate.
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 15-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. With 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 15-year-old Japanese Single Malt Whisky is available at online auctions or in well-stocked Whisky Shops, for anywhere between £250 – £350.
For more information on the Yoichi 15-year-old, visit the official Nikka website.