So much whisky, so little time | Singapore | Tasting Notes

50th post! Yoichi 20yo for a reward

My word, made it to 50! This calls for something nice.

Yoichi Distillery



Yoichi potstills displaying the varied sizes and shapes used by a Japanese distiller to make different styles of distillate.

Yoichi is the only Japanese distillery in Hokkaido, and therefore experiences wintry winters and warm summers. It is guarded by the mountains on three sides and on the fourth it faces the ocean. It is of course owned by Nikka (ultimate parent – Asahi) – set up in 1934 by the illustrious Masataka Taketsuru, who left Suntory to found the other great Japanese whisky giant.

The maltings ceased in 1970 and today Yoichi imports Scottish malt. The water is very soft and drawn from a well on the premises. A traditional mash tun is used, the four wash stills are coal fired while the spirit stills are steam heated. Mizunara oak is also used for casks here and charred to a light degree.

There is also a love story to be had here, for you romantics, worthy of a tv soapy.

Yoichi 20 yo, 2014


Nose  Nose: Sugoi! Powerful and big wood influence here, bourbon-y notes jump out with thick vanilla pods, and leather plus oak spice notes of tobacco, cloves and dry nuts, and with time, something a bit gassy too.<not THAT gas>  Also showing deep sweetness that doesn’t immediately scream rich oxidised sherry – instead there is lush mandarin and pomelo peel, round ripe and juicy… and peach? (Reminds me of Southern Comfort at some point.) So ripe, my god its begs to be squeezed. Well balanced,never cloying, here comes wafts of aniseed and perfumy incense sticks in a sandalwood box. Voluptuously perfumed but fresh, Ylang ylang after a morning shower. With water, the fruit steps forward, all sweet berries now.

Taste  Palette: Sweet, big,  good weight. Perfumy again but bursts out on the tongue in a sweet spice cornucopia and zest,  lots of it but balanced with something bitter and sour -sour cherries? And a touch pungent – celery seed? Excellent development on the palette, but very ‘distinct’, and always fragrant. Almost as complex as the nose.

Finish  Finish:  Long, not quite dry but something green and lip-smacking umami, and something like incense again. Very more-ish.


The student has shown he can be every bit as good as the teacher. This 20 year old would trounce many many 20 year old Scotch whiskies, but wait, that’s not quite a fair comparison isn’t it. If I had to nit pick I would say the palette was not as complex as the phenomenal nose. But I won’t, because overall as a whole package, an excellent albeit pricey whisky.

I AM a little surprised by the amount of wood influence really showing after 20 years though, wouldn’t happen with a 3rd or more refill Scotch (?) , and maybe that is one reason why Scotch can get to such immense age.

Also I suspect there has been quite a shift in the style of the 20 yo from the 2000s, I was attracted to this whisky by reviews that commented on its coastal notes and peat, but I simply do not get it in this 2013 bottling, though it is still a wonderful whisky of course.

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This entry was posted on March 5, 2014 by in Yoichi and tagged .
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