Yoichi is probably the most popular Japanese single malt brand: when this 20 yo (actually not exactly this edition, but a couple of years before) won the World Best Whisky at the World Whisky Awards organized by Whisky Magazine, everyone started to watch at Japanese malts with more consideration. Even the rudest Scottish guys – convinced that those slant-eyed Sirs were only skilled anime cartoonists or overweight fighters – were forced to change their mind. And all the world took note that Japan can boast exceptional whisky craftsmen. Let’s taste it.
N: what a kindness, the alcohol is incredibly soft. It’s discrete and intense at the same time; caramelized and pleasantly sugary, with terrific malt notes (slightly peated, just to enrich an already complex profile). There are tobacco, spices (pepper, cloves) and a lot of jam (tarte tatin, raspberries, apricots). It’s creamy, too. Whiffs of oak. It smells fresh on its own way, but it shows dignity and a ponderous personality. Pale traces of aromatic herbs (origan and lavender); it reminds of the humid and “cellar” profile you can find in some Brora…
P: consistent with the nose, luckily: an increasing and mouth-filling smokiness is accoompanied by several spices (pepper, cinnamon, cloves), Again, memories of old-time malt, very Brora-style. Very sugary cereal, with powerful oak hints. Honestly, it’s not multi-faceted, but everything you taste is gorgeous: you have to love it, but you will love it. Caramel, jam: an indistinct mix between apricots, red berries and tropical fruits. Spicy, with ginger and maybe tobacco, too.
F: long, with a wonderful smokiness, deep and moist; the spirit just keep breathing while is in your throat; again pepper and a tasty malt.
It’s really, really good: the care for details and the respect for tradition that made Japan popular (at Yoichi distillery, ovens are fullfilled with coal and mantained manually at controlled temperatures) stroke again. This whisky, tasted again with calm, is probably the best of the tasting. We can’t give less than 91/100 because it’s really complex, intense and vibrant. Serges is more circumspect and he feels this way.
Recommended soundtrack: Aneka – Japanese boy