Nikka Yoichi 10 year old single malt Japanese whisky
Nikka Yoichi 10 year old single malt Japanese whisky

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The Yoichi distillery is one of Nikka’s two malt distilleries. Established in 1934 by Japanese whisky legend Masataka Taketsuru, it produces peated, heavy malt for both blending and release as single malt. While Yoichi originally used local peat, it now imports most of its peat from Scotland. The distillery is notable for its use of direct coal-fired still, a practice so old that it’s not even in use in tradition-bound Scotland anymore. The 10 year is aged in ex-bourbon casks (and allegedly spends some small amount of time in Mizunara casks) and is bottled at 45% ABV. 

Nose: Toasted nori. Flour dumplings, and the faintest hint of plum sauce. Quite salty (like Old Pulteney). Roasted, salted nuts. Lightly peated, but maritime in nature (briny).

Palate: Definitely salty. Thin on the palate. A little hot. Savory – like Pork Bao – peaty with notes of smouldering hay, smoked meats, and smoked fish. Malty as well, with undercurrents of sweet cereal grains.

Finish: Long. Clearly peated, although the peat seems to run in the salty/seaweed direction rather than the smoky/campfire direction. Fades slowly, with evolving notes of crispy fish skin, nori, seawater, and finally iodine.