Yoichi – and particularly this bottling – is a milestone in the history of whisky. First of all, the distillery reminds of the beginning of the malt distillate in Japan: Yoichi (Nikka group) was founded in 1934 by Masataka Taketsuru, back from his educational trip to Scotland. Ten years before, Taketsuru had already built Yamazaki with Shinjiro Torii, founder of Suntory group. So nowadays – surprisingly – the Japanese whisky industry is near to celebrate its first century of business. And we suddenly realized its quality in 2001, when this Yoichi 10 yo was awarded by Whisky Magazine. The blind tasting forced the Western world to admit that Japanese guys make great whiskies.
N: nice, full nose. It’s quite warm, but it maintains that sense of acidity, so common in Japanese whiskies. There are delicious notes of apricot croissant (actually, lots of apricot jam) and something reminding of candied fruits (orange and papaya). Some honey stickiness. Of course we can’t forget to mention a slightly peaty minerality, with a wide range of sensations, from extinguished candle to gunpowder. A really interesting profile.
P: great impact! In the foreground we have that dirty side, in the background an increasing sweetness unfolds: delicate at first, but intenser over time. Again croissant, sweet orange marmelade, creme brulée. A wonderful general sensation of sweet and sour. Later, ash, soot and cloves…
F: an infinite richness of spiced wood, with persistent cloves and a balsamic/salty hint reminding us of (brace yourselves) Neo Emoform toothpaste. The peat lasts long, with ash and embers. Apricot jam again.
Let’s play a game. Let’s pretend to be one of those jurors who awarded this Yoichi as the best whisky in the world in 2001. We would have thought: “Wow! Such a rich whisky, it seems like a malt of yesteryear, subtle and mineral. Nevertheless I recognize it’s also a modern whisky, produced with a surgical and catchy vatting of casks. Of course, I can feel the spiciness… I’m not fooled, this is a Benromach! And… oh Gosh, where are my car keys? And that hostess could be my daughter but… Man, the flesh is really weak… I was saying: Benromach, yes… but know I’m not sure anymore, this is the 30th f*ing whisky I tasted today… Anyway, if I had a whisky blog, I would rate it 87/100“.
Recommended soundtrack: Due Lipa – Blow your mind.