Cask # 129651
Neat things from the Land Of The Rising Sun. Really neat.
This single cask bottling is a 20 y.o. 1991 vintage from Nikka’s Yoichi distillery. Yoichi is situated on Hokkaido, Japan’s second largest and northernmost of the four principal islands.
A little about the island of Hokkaido itself before we get on to the malt in the bottle. Hokkaido is as near as you’ll come to a Japanese sister island to Scotland. It’s size is comparable, population in the same ballpark and climate…well…not too far off apparently. The Yoichi distillery, being relatively coastal, benefits from a similar influence as the more seaward facing Scottish distilleries. If you’re a believer in terroir and ambient influence, a mere sip of this malt should likely speak volumes in backing your argument. Further, the land provides a peat-like substrate which is used in kilning the barley in order to imbibe that smoky profile we all know and love.
The Nikka website refers to the malt produced at Yoichi as ‘rich, peaty and masculine’. Hmm…interesting. In this day and age of broadstroke appeal and equality erasing all boundaries, somewhat of an odd marketing angle to embrace. I’ll say no more on that subject, but I will go on record and say that I’ve now tried a couple of different whiskies from this distillery, both single malt and blends, and the results rolling off their stills are top notch. Apparently Yoichi bottlings have also hammered some Scottish malts in blind tastings and won several world awards. Whisky is a world stage, friends, and personally I love all of the options now available at our globetrotting palates and noses.
Nose: Surprisingly smoky. A slight ashy-ness meets peat and dark damp soil. Kinda Laphroaig-ish actually. Some orange and lemon with vanilla. Tire rubber. Pastry dough. Syrupy. Lovely lose. I could happily get lost in the eddies here for quite some time.
Palate: Huge arrival (but at 63% what else would we expect?)! Hot and spicy. Not quite as nice on the tastebuds as it is on the nose, but still quite sublime. Chocolate. Peaty and earthy. Pears in syrup. Very viscous (a quality I adore!). Licorice at the back end. Long finish, and all positive.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt