Dram Review: SMWS 116.19 Yoichi 余市 “Tobacconist by a Sweetie Shop”

[61.3%・20 Years Old・Distilled in 1994・SMWS Bottling・Single Cask Release of 526 Bottles]

Nose:

Saucy and buttery, caramelised popcorn, a pinch of furikake amidst the brown sugar and maple syrup. It’s intense and marvellous, rich creamy tobacco together with a splash of lime as the woodworking ambience sets in.

Palate & Finish:

A robust showing of prunes and dates with some aggressiveness from the pepper and the rubbery smoke followed by a softening sweetness from the cola gummy bears.

Chocolate and leather, black liquorice, toffee apples, with traces of peat and tobacco.

Thoughts:

The virgin oak influence is very potent in this provocative Pappy-esque Yoichi, but with that added personal pleasure that is peat.

☆ ☆ [Highly Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Nikka Single Cask Malt Whisky Yoichi Nicol’s Dram

[57.8%・14 Years Old・Distilled in 1986・Bottled in 2000・Official Bottling・Cask No. 126941・Single Cask Release]

Nose:

A heavy belter with a heavy-handed serving of intensely creamy vanilla splashed generously with cinnamon spices.  The oak begins to char in the background as the coal smoke draws some cured meat notes to go with the ripe fruits from the spirit.

Palate & Finish:

A indulging festive mic of poached fruits and Christmas pudding, the coal smoke gives a warming presence as a feisty showing of spices serve to lay the path for an introduction of sweet vanilla and fig jam.

The sweet gooey presence peels off in the finish to reveal a lasting tail of peat smoke and ash.

Thoughts:

I have always thought highly of Yoichi single casks, perhaps not the most exquisite whiskies out there, but they often do come in immense characters.

Thoroughly enjoyable.

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Yoichi 余市 Manzanilla Wood Finish

[48.0%・NAS・Bottled in 2018・Official Bottling・Limited Release of 4,000 Bottles]

Nose:

The nose is compellingly rich, buttery and meaty toffee through and through and in time the equally rich malt begin to unfold.

Palate & Finish:

The Manzanilla finish lends a mellow and sweet side to things, with smooth honey leading and accompanied by mandarin peels, clean peat drifts in and out along traces of chocolate mud cake.

Light peat infused in fruity syrup in the finish, kanjuku raisins..

Thoughts:

A politely tasty dram. I appreciate that the wood finish is not trying to do too much and this is still reassuringly a Yoichi all things considered..

☆ [Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Nikka Single Cask Malt Whisky (Yoichi 余市 Cask No. 400600)

[62.0%・15 Years Old・Distilled in 1992・Bottled in 2007・Official Bottling・Cask No. 400600・Single Cask Release]

Nose:

A stately and proper sense of oak.  The peat combines well with the oak; tobacco leaves, dried porcini and wet sand with a spray of brine.

Palate & Finish:

A deep and sharp stroke of acidic fruits together with a gentler underlying dose of brown sugar syrup and marzipan. The oak tannins are at work amidst the intense sweetness.

A firm and spicy burn that transitions into a much gentler, creamy finish of piccolo and some lingering iodine..

Thoughts:

Stylistically quite like the virgin oak cask bottled by the Scotch Malt Whisky Society a few years ago, but that cask was exceptional.  Still, another solid virgin oak cask by the distillery..

☆ [Recommended]

-Nicholas

Whisky Review: Yoichi 余市 2000’s

Style: Caramel-malt and Complex

Nose:

Smoky caramel butterscotch laminated with earthy menthol spice. Naked barley brimming emphatically, strolling down the lane we have orchard fruits contributing some nice sweetness and crispness. Very nice. Farmy peat with a slight touch of mineral and ink. Tobacco leaves, apricots and strawberry jam towards the end.

Palate:

Starts with more butterscotch, egg pudding and menthol tobacco leaves on the palate. Caramel sauce drizzling on poppy seed pancakes sided with honeycomb, switching to the fruity side we have gooseberries, orange blossoms and lemon myrtle infused with malt syrup. Peat smoke gently stoking the core, popcorn notes and peppermint to finish. Very good.

Finish:

Barley soaking in caramel sauce, menthol and earthy tone connecting to the fruity notes.

Thoughts:

A distillate-driven, delicious and punchy Yoichi. Even without many years under its belt, every facet of the expression is beautifully optimized and integrated, the vibrant caramel-barley core carries and unlock all the layers within, so well-balanced and complex. Great stuff, close to 2 stars.

☆ [Recommended]

[57% / Original Bottling / No Age Statement / Limited Edition / Circa 2010 Bottled / Cask Strength / T+]

-Esmond

Whisky Review: Yoichi 余市 Single Malt

Style: Youthful and Fruity

Nose:
Youthful tropical fruits buzzing in, lemon balm sealing around it. Vanilla powder, barley sugar lightly torched with faint peat smoke. Underlying citrus orange surfaces and beaming positively. A small red chilli spike towards the end.

Palate:
More juvenile barley sugar and orange confectionaries clatter on the palate, a (surprisingly) light amount of smoke injected into the core, followed by lemon coconut scented candle, with a gentle layer of aloe vera buffer underneath. Milk chocolate, oatmeal and vanilla oak seeping in to give a tinge of bitterness.

Finish:
Sweet barley coating, aloe vera and orange citrus to finish.

Thoughts:
A pretty well-constructed Yoichi, the young barley sugar offers plenty of energy to power the expression with side notes supporting it well. However, in my honest opinion, at least part of the spirit still feels too young and the rawness of the spirit remains evident for me. Maybe the oak is highlighted as a counterbalance, but somehow it feels a bit forced. That said, it is still a rather positive dram. Borderline tick.

[Recommended if you like the Style/ Distillery]

[45% / Original Bottling / No Age Statement / General Release / Circa 2017 Bottled / T-]

-Esmond

Dram Review: Yoichi Genshu Aged 10 Years Cask No. 120913

[61.0%・10 Years Old・Bottled Circa 2000s・Official Bottling・Cask No. 120913・Single Cask Release]

Nose:

The nose is filled with creamy vanilla aromas, much satisfying and full of caramel fudge, toasted coconut chips, corn syrup, and comes with a generous char.  In time, it’s surprisingly woody with a bit of dirty coal soot that grows more prominent.

Palate & Finish:

A powerful dose of gooey, syrupy fruitiness with a heavy intensity streaming from caramel sauce and vanilla custard. A bit lemony and very sweet with the corn syrup stone fruits dripping out on the mid palate.

Honey and sugary whisky tablets with more vanilla custard and creamy coconut in the finish.

Thoughts:

A sticky, fudge-y dram that’s quite sweet but carries an excellent mouthfeel..

☆ [Recommended]

-Nicholas

Whisky Review: SMWS 116.20 Yoichi 余市 “Fascinating complexity and finesse”

Style: Vanilla and Complex

Nose:
Vanilla toffee and hot toddy spiced up by white pepper on the nose. Round melon sweetness and wood shavings lightly smoked with gentle peat. A positive vibe. Caramel pudding followed by incredible amount of wood incense. Anise, cinnamon stewed with fruits which has been lurking deep with the malt. A virgin oak malt through and through.

Palate:
More and more vanilla caramel pouring onto the palate. In comes a nice amount of amber peat and wood smoke. Lapsang tea, white flower, tropical fruits, char-grilled pineapple, coconut cream. After a while the dram opens up to an endless stream of sweetness. Yellow flower, vanilla wood, vanilla milk, orange drops, ester fruits… It goes on and on… Finishes with a dash of salt, bonfire and barbeque seafood.

Finish:
Milk pudding, sesame with a touch of miso paste. Floral, fruitiness drying up and we have dying amber smoke and peat. Delicious.

Thoughts:
Honestly I don’t cheer for virgin oak cask malts, because in general virgin oak injects in a lot of vanilla and caramel which tends to overwhelm the spirit. But this whisky is one of the rare exceptions. Yes, there’re still ample vanilla and caramel, but when the whisky opens up, you can find much more complexities and finesse under the virgin oak mask. Layer after layer of flavours come to you… Very enjoyable. Pour yourself a healthy dram, you can enjoy this all night.

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

[61.6% • 2013 Bottled • 1987 Distilled • Independent Bottling • Single Cask • Cask Strength • Non Coloured • Non Chill Filtered • 452 Bottles • Aged 26 Years • Matured in Virgin Oak Puncheon • **]

-Esmond

Whisky Review: Yoichi 余市 Aged 20 Years Single Cask #400654

Style: Rich and Complex

Nose:

Cold breeze of peppermint mist diffusing across to the nose, slowly, smooth edges of fruity malt become more visible with traces of ashy smoke gently weaved into the aroma. Stew fruits, timber shavings, coffee and cloves all combined beautifully, it feels the maturation has reached an optimal point. Rich and oily.

Palate:

Behind another fiery charge of peppermint spice we have a gorgeous touch of stewed fruits and honey standing tall. Immensely complex and crystal-clear development of flavours – light peat, ashy touches, tobacco leaves, vanilla, dry spices, coffee syrup, timber shavings, treacles all playing their part, while mellow, sweet strawberries easing through. Spices still giving a mighty zing. Red fruits undertone arises, cherries, red grapes and combine the malt to give a pleasant finish.

Finish:

Subtle sherry foundation enables to the oak and peat to shine in the most delicate way on high. Honey and more dry spices lingering, beautiful layers constructed here. •

Thoughts:

I will try not be biased here, as this is my favourite bottle from my favourite distillery, but probably I can’t help it… Anyway, other than being quite spicy, the spirit is magnificent – Incredible complexity, elements in the dram are perfectly in sync and orchestrated brilliantly, the oily texture, the sublime richness… it is one beautiful whisky. If only I can go back to the distillery and grab the whole cask, I should have enough stock for the rest of my life. I wish I can give 3 stars, but I think 2.5 stars would be more accurate. Maybe we should do half stars rating? 😉

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

[60% • 2014 • Original Bottling • Single Cask • Cask Strength • Non Chill Filtered • Non Coloured • Limited Edition • Distillery Exclusive • Cask Number: 400654]

-Esmond

Whisky Review: Yoichi 20 Years Old

Tasting Notes:

Yoichi 余市 20 Years Old ☆☆

Style: Bold and Elegant

Nose:

Magnificent Aroma – heart-warming vanilla drizzled with delicious honey. Leathery, tobacco leaves with drops of raisin syrup slightly teasing your nose. Peat and ashy smoke glowing in the most charming way from the back, beautiful malt slowly pushing through… Incredibly complex and soothing sensation.

Palate:

Red liquorice brushes with more heather honey opening up on the palate. Tannins, tar, vintage wood and dry smoke diffusing gently. Grape juice gathering pace and carried by perfect spice. Magnificent sweetness radiated by the malt and nicely ended with dark chocolate and peppermint.

Finish:

Silky texture – chocolate oak, light honey malt, tender spice, juicy sherry and dry peat smoke all blend into one, lingering on for an exquisitely long finish.

Thoughts:

I have to admit that Yoichi is my favourite Japanese distillery – probably my favourite of all distilleries. Bold character with pure elegance, and this bottle of Yoichi 20 years old has pretty much summed up the excellence of this distillery, the smoke, sherry, peat, malt and oak, they all play a good part and contribute to the dram with a beautiful balance. To me, (and I quote Serge here) this is a masterpiece… Gutted it is no longer readily available. 大変美味しゅうございました!

[52%・2006・Original Bottling・General Release・Discontinued・Non Chill Filtered]

-Esmond