Nikka Yoichi 20 years old, 52%

I’ve reviewed this whisky in the past when I went to a tasting of a bunch of Japanese whiskies at De Whiskykoning. Then I found some interesting notes, but I thought it was time for a do over. Also, I like getting drams of stuff like this.

Yoichi has never let me down as far as I can remember, although the 10 year old isn’t all that. The 15 year old is an impressive dram, although I don’t think the current price hikes are in line with the quality of the booze anymore. It’s a shame but I think prices will eventually come down when the next hype announces itself or the Asian market switches back to cognac or finds something else to splurge on.

Anyway, the 20 year old has always been an expensive dram. Back in the days of semi normality it was € 200 per bottle or so. How I now wish to have bought one! Currently this baby sits at a measly € 700 in shops.

I’ve checked some auction results. Things are going crazy there too. Nikka recently announced they’re removing all the ages whiskies from the market in favor of NAS stuff because of demand. The previous auction at whiskyauction.com that held Yoichi 20 was in April, before this announcement. Then Yoichi 20 went for about € 215. Now, since the announcement it’s already at € 535 and that auction is still running!

Image from Whiskybase

Image from Whiskybase

Sniff:
It’s a big, heavy and complex whisky. There are some savory notes with lots of spices. Quite some smoke, but no peat on the nose. Lots of oak, some fruit, hard to pin down. It’s really good and really ‘something else’, oak, furniture polish, sandal wood, flint and sweet plums.

Sip:
The palate is remarkably gentle, but does bring a prickle. The flint is present here too, again with lots of oak. Very typically Japanese. Sweet, a hint of sulfur (in a really good way), matches. Basalt, leather and polish.

Swallow:
The finish is very consistent with the palate but has a slightly heavier focus on the savory notes I got on the nose. In my previous review of this I called that soup spices, and I see why I did that.

This is a damn awesome whisky. Let is be said. I truly regret not getting it when I had the chance until half a year ago or so. I might have to keep my eyes open in smaller liquor shops that haven’t updated their prices yet (like ever…).

The nose is awesome and the palate fits it well without being exactly the same. That makes for some interesting discovery and development. It’s very complex, but not in a demanding way that makes it a taster’s whisky instead of one you can also just drink. I like that. Although it’s off the beaten path enough so you simply notice it’s different than anything you’ve had so far.

If you can get this or try it somewhere, do so. Heavily recommended!

Yoichi 20, 52%, available for some € 700 in shops in Japan. Check Whiskybase

About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm a web developer at Emakina. I'm highly interested in booze, with a focus on whisk(e)y. I like to listen to loads of music and read quite some books. I'm married to Anneke, have a daughter Ot, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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