We’ve previously posted tasting notes of the Yoichi expressions from Nikka, which included their non-age statement and 10-year-old. Now if you are well into your whisky, then you’ll know there is a shortage of age-statement Nikka and what Nikka have done to remedy this, is introduce new non-age statement expressions in the Miyagikyo and Yoichi range. 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. 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. This is of course the new non-age statement from Nikka, the Yoichi – not to be confused with the old non-age statement we looked at in previous years; it is completely different.
On the nose: you’ll be greeted by lashings of honey, lemon zest, mellow peat and pineapple. These initial notes are succeeded by notes of toffee, demerera sugar, candy floss, oranges and hints of liquorice. Spices start to emerge in the form of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Rounding-off the nose are notes of white chocolate, lavender, flashes of mint, rosemary, salty caramel and butterscotch. On the palate: there is a burst of salty peat, oranges, pears, lemons and caramel. These are followed by a spicy kick of black pepper, nutmeg and cinnamon. Notes of almonds start to emerge, alongside melon, kiwi and plums. Completing the palate are notes of aniseed, white chocolate, rosemary, walnuts and a green herbaceous note. The finish: long, creamy and leathery, with an interesting bittersweet note and lingering peat.
The verdict: I’m always intrigued by Japanese whisky and just how they manage to produce whisky with such depth in flavour. This new non-age statement is testament to how good whisky that doesn’t bear an age can be. This Yochi is sophisticated, elegant, well-balanced and packed full with some beautiful notes. This new Nikka Yoichi (NAS) 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 – leave it to breathe for 5-10 minutes.
This new Nikka Yoichi NAS Japanese Single Malt Whisky is available to buy online or in-store at any well-stocked whisky shop, for approximately £80.
For more information on this new non-age statement Yoichi, visit the official Nikka website.