Nikka Yoichi Single Malt Japanese Whisky
Relaunched in 2016, this comes from Nikka’s excellent Yoichi distillery. This is a blend of single malts from different years and consequently does not carry an age statement. This is a smoky whisky with a maritime character.
The latest Yoichi single malt will replace both the previous NAS release and the remaining age statement whiskies. The change comes as demand continues to stretch Nikka’s aged stock, with this new Yoichi Single Malt (made of of whiskies of various ages) aimed at representing this special distillery’s direct-coal-heated, peated yet fruity style.
With Japan experiencing shortages of aged malt whisky, many Japanese brands like the Nikka have opted to replace their range with no-age-statement variants. Launched Stateside in September 2016, Yoichi Single Malt is a peated single malt that replaces the beloved aged expressions of the same line: Yoichi 10, 12, 15, and 20 that have been discontinued. Distilled from malted barley and aged using a variety of casks including new American oak and ex-sherry casks, it is bottled at 45% ABV.
This is a single malt from the Yoichi distillery, Nikka’s first distillery built in 1934. The founder Masataka Taketsuru chose Yoichi in Hokkaido because of the similar environmental conditions to Scotland, where he learned whisky making. Yoichi single malt has pleasant peaty notes and smokiness originating from the traditional direct coal-fired distillation as well as a briny hint delivered by the sea breeze during the aging process.
Full-bodied, smooth. A mellow peat softly coats the aromatic palette at first, growing more powerful with time, as smoke, soot and salty notes transcend the initial nose. The aromas then evolve towards candied citrus fruit (lemon, orange), black liquorice and spices (nutmeg, ginger), and opens up with roots and dried twig aromas. Heady and floral (carnation, iris), it grows increasingly complex.
Firm, powerful. A well-balanced attack gives equal footing to aromas of peat, smoke, spices, fresh fruit and nuts, which it delivers in spades. The mid-palate starts off with chocolate notes, but the peat soon takes the lead once again.
Long, silky. Extremely mature, it overflows with ripe fruit. The peat starts taking on an herbaceous and malty character, while the salty flavours gives the finish plenty of depth and coastal freshness. The final nose offers menthol, spicy (coriander, dill) and earthy (leather, chestnuts) notes.