Nikka Yoichi 20 years old has an excellent reputation. Most of this is based on the 20yo vintage releases like the 1987/2007 which won the 2008 World Whiskies Awards. Even the WWA website is still mixing it up with the regular (non-vintage) 20 years old that we’re trying today. But anyway, the regular 20 year-old is still pretty great. It’s the oldest member of the single malt Yoichi core range.
Nikka Yoichi 20 yo
(52%, OB 2008, 22G10B)
Nose: big notes of cedar wood up front. Cigar boxes. Tobacco leaves. Old leather. Nice to see there’s also an estery note (nail polish) but this fades away quickly. Dark forest fruits remain. After that, some earthy smoke, burnt cake and a little tar. Hints of dried mushrooms and soft spices. Incense as well. Light matchstick notes from the sherry. Excellent complexity and typically Japanese.
Mouth: punchy (bordering on pungent). Again quite savoury and leathery. Walnuts and roasted pecans. Deep, earthy peat smoke. Pepper, liquorice, anise, a pinch of salt. In the background a strong bitter-sweet harmony of burnt fruit cake and dark chocolate. Slightly sourish tobacco leaves.
Finish: very long, smoky and chocolaty with traces of dry oak.
It’s a delicious and uniquely Japanese profile, but for some people it might be too extreme in its earthy savouriness. I love it though. Around € 230 for recent batches. Thanks Joeri!