Category Archives: Nikka

Nikka Whisky – Coming to the US

Nikka Whisky is finally making its way to the US.   It is projected that the whisky will be launched some time in November of this year through Anchor Distilling Co. here in San Francisco.  Most people have already heard, but I think that it is worth mentioning here as it is very significant not only in terms of Japanese whisky but all whisky.  I am always bitching and moaning about how we barely get any Japanese whisky here – there are really only four expressions available from Suntory right now (Yamazaki 12, 18, Hakushu 12 and Hibiki 12).  This is a mere sliver of the total expressions that Japanese distillers actually produce.  I am ecstatic that Nikka will now finally be launched here to add to the selection of Japanese malts.  Initially Nikka is releasing the Taketsuru 12 (a pure malt) and the Yoichi 15.  If you are not familiar with Nikka Whisky, we posted a quick history here.  I was also lucky enough to visit the Yoichi distillery and posted by experiences here.

Unfortunately I don’t have any of the Taketsuru 12 or Yoichi 15 around right now to sample but I did have the Yoichi 12:

Color:  Medium brown/copper

Nose:  Text book Yoichi – coastal, smoke, rutty, earthy and musky, some light apple hiding underneath it all, a sweet and dark baking spice mixture, pumpkin bread, wisps of eucalyptus and menthol.

Palate:  Briney, decomposing vegetation, surprising alcohol prickliness (for 45%ABV) but not overwhelming, mushrooms, peat, muskiness is very evident, slightly ashy, the malt starts to make its presence known towards the end, some sweet spiced bread/cake, oily.  With water it gets sweeter and loses some of the mouth-feel, cleaner and not as rutty.

Finish:  Medium, ash, dark spices.

This is one of my favorite whiskies.  If it was available here it would be one of my favorite everyday sippers.  It is not as big as the Yoichi 15 but it holds its own and is at a lot better price point.  I believe it was less than $50 last time I got a bottle at duty free in Narita.


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Nikka Yoichi 20y/o Vintage 1988

The 20 year Vintage expressions are an annual release and they relate to a specific year.  The one we are trying today is from whisky distilled in 1988, last year’s was from 1989 and this year’s is from 1990 (We’ll get to posting about those vintages eventually).   According to Nonjatta the releases used to be a lot smaller, ~500 bottles.  However, Nikka has upped the number of bottles available, 3500 for this release, probably in-part to the increase in popularity and demand.  Both of which are good things!

The Vintage 1987 is in part what put Nikka on the map internationally when it won the best single malt whisky for the 2008 Malt Whisky Awards (I tried this expression a couple of years ago, while a fabulous dram I didn’t think it was “that” good).  The 1987 sold out quickly, so when we caught wind that the 1988 was going to be released we made sure to reserve a bottle.  The expectations were high for this bottle so it had a lot to live up to!

Yoichi Vintage 1988 20 y/o 55% ABV

Chris’ Impressions:

Color:  Light bronze orange

Nose:  Peat, light smoke, meaty, winter in Lake Tahoe with fire place smoke in the air, sandal wood, coastal saltiness.

Palate:  Smoke initially, drying, deep oak, dark fruits, slightly salty, lights up the tongue with some dark spices

Finish:  Long, dark fruit sweetness and salt

Comments:  This is some top notch stuff.  A complex twisting but beautifully weaved whisky.  There is a lot going on and you really have to sit with it for some time to take it all in.  It is also very unique – there aren’t really any other whiskies that have a similar flavor profile.  I wish we bought two bottles because this one is now empty.

Nate’s Impressions:

I sampled this as part of a blind tasting.  The other whiskies had been blends.  When I got to this one it did not take much to know that someone was trying to pull a fast one.  This whisky stands up and stands out.  Rose gold and amber, the color itself was warming.  The nose blew its cover revealing the single malt pedigree, and quite a distinctive one.  Peat, iodine, and salt tried to assert their places in the presence of a distinctive fresh-from-the-BBQ charred meat note.  And a ghostly trace of violet grappa appeared now and then.  A powerful yet mysterious nose that really took me in.  I might have been able to get more out of it but I needed to taste it, the lure was too strong.  Dark smoke paved the way for brown sugar and salted earth.  The smoke transformed into extinguishing embers.  Then some aged oak and a twisted take on a black pepper candy cane worked their way into the deep, darkening mix.  A tingling, a numbing, and in the course of a long finish I enjoyed a coating heat.  The finer attributes of age and how it can complicate and improve a whisky really stand out in the Nikka Yoichi 1988.  These were 20 years well spent.

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Tasting Three Nikka Blends

Veering off of the single malt course we are trying some of Nikka’s blends today.  Blends tend to get relegated to the status of a second class whisky citizen – which can be unfortunate.  If there is anything that we can communicate in this post, it is to not let the stereotypes surrounding blends hold you back from trying them. You might be missing out on some really good whisky.

Kingsland Nikka Whisky Premier 43%ABV



To be honest, the packaging on this little 50cl sampler screamed this is going to be some serious swill.  There was an odd dichotomy of ingenuity and ridiculousness when it came to the “bottle stopper”.  It was meant to look like a nice crystal bottle stopper, but it was in-fact a regular twist top with a triangular plastic piece fastened to the top with a sticker.  After we stopped laughing we poured it out to give it a try.

Chris’ Impressions:

Color:  Light copper

Nose:  Wow! A huge amount of alcohol fumes straight into my nose.  After figuring out that I had to give this whisky a lot of space when nosing I found some apples, sweet grain, oak and what can only be described as a sharp impression

Palate:  Continuing the trend of being really sharp on the entry and then it settles down into some sweet grain, honey and malt.

Finish:  Short – poof! Gone!

Comments:  Surprising kick on both the nose and palate up front – not necessarily in a good way.  After that it is pretty boring but at least it was not the swill that I was expecting.

Nate’s Impressions:

Even if the adornment on the cap was a little corny, the glass bottle had a pleasing heft to it.  Over-the-counter caramel in color.  I did not expect such a hot nose.  And it was a hot nose.  And the nose stayed hot.  It almost brought a tear to my eye.  No, seriously. Perhaps there was a little apple-sugar and malt back in there somewhere.  A slightly sugary beginning lead to quick dashes of peat and smoke before settling on some darker sugar and dough notes.

Taketsuru 17 43% ABV

Taketsuru 17

If you take a close look at this little 50cl bottle, only the character for tsuru (鶴) is on there.  We humored ourselves with the thoughts that the bottle was too small for a label with the full name so they left the Take (竹) out.

Chris’ Impressions:

Color:  Dark amber

Nose:  Initially honey, pears, a little floral.  Then it shifts into more earthy tones with sandal wood and incense

Palate:  Smooth, malty, layers of sweetness and sandal wood

Finish:  Short and sweet

Comments:  Not a light blend as the nose initially alluded to, reminds me of a ratcheted down Nikka From the Barrel Blend (see below).

Nate’s Impressions:

I thought the label was pretty cool.  Not a lot of information but it sure did look stylish.  20 carat gold with a tinge of copper.  The nose was slightly sweet with a touch of celery, heat, and not entirely unlike a strawberry.  I took a sip and found it quite satisfying.  Lush water opened with a balanced, light peaty earth and hint-o-smoke.  A slow-burning oak took root in the distance alongside a pleasantly somber sweetness.  The blending process did not eradicate too much character in this relatively short and sweet sipper.  I would like to drink this on an airplane.

Nikka From the Barrel 51.4% ABV

Nikka From the Barrel


We did a short review of this before, but felt like we should revisit it and go into a little more depth.

Chris’ Impressions:

Color:  Light copper and orange

Nose:  Peat, feisty alcohol presence, sweet dark fruit, incense, sandal wood, apple cider and orange

Palate:  Earthy, peat, tansu furniture, good viscosity, a prickly spice on the tongue

Finish:  Long.  Incense and woody

Comments:  This is probably one of the best blends that I have ever had.  It has a darker, bolder and punchier flavor profile than we would expect from a blend.  This is a single malt drinker’s blend – if that makes any sense.  Great stuff!

Nate’s Impressions:

Yes, I love this stuff.  But this time I didn’t know I was drinking it (a little bit of blind-tasting) which makes my biased praise slightly more legitimate.  The color was an orangy-light-rose gold.  The nose featured peat, heat, dusty lemon, more heat, and perhaps a trace of fig ( but that last one could have been a synaptic snafu).  It hit the palate with mild peat, dense simple syrup, and dark orange-resin.  It was hot, but not overpowering.  Some mushroom earthyness and char crawled onto the scene and settled in for a solid lingering.  Pleasing mouthfeel.  I thought I was drinking a single malt.  Loads of character that are pleasantly at odds, but never smothering each other… and you can really taste the Yoichi lineage.  I would like the keep a bottle of this on hand at all times.  And don’t get me started about the cool bottle…


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Nikka Yoichi 15y/o Single Cask

We really enjoy the single cask line up from Nikka’s Yoichi distillery.  Unfortunately they don’t market them much and they can be difficult to find.  I have only been able to get them directly from the distillery in Yoichi.  We tasted the 5 y/o, 10 y/o and the 25 y/o.

This time we are visiting the 15 y/o expression that is bottled at 60% ABV.  Cask No. 235296

Nikka Yoichi 15 y/o

Chris’ Impressions:

Color:  18k gold

Nose:  Peat up front, soft waves of smoke, coastal, malty, dense oak, earthy.

Palate:  Initial sweetness then shifts into more earthy and fungal flavors.  Good balance with the peat hanging out in the background, some salt too.

Finish:  Long with the peat lingering till the end.

Comments:  Again, a great single cask expression, nice and lively and I think it is better balanced than the 10 y/o – of which I am a huge fan of.

Nate’s Impressions:

I wish tasting Nikka’s whiskies was a full-time Job.  The line-up is solid and I am always finding new characteristics with each visit… right next to the bedrock flavors I keep returning to.  The 15 year brings a tinge of orange, a darker edge to Nikka’s golden hue.  Peat, wood, and saltwater taffy get out front in the nose.  The heat is there but the full 60% is holding back.  The initial sip is front-loaded with candied oak that gives way to reduced vanilla and mushroom.  The entire palate darkens into a warm, slightly peaty cheek-chewing experience that lasts as long as you like.  The heat tips its cards here, not with a spicy burn but a dense, burnt sugar numbing.  It is a shame that one usually needs a boarding pass, a passport, and a week off to pick up a bottle of this.

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A Pair of Nikka Expressions

Nikka Malts

Not many know about it, but Nikka has a small collection of flavor specific whiskies.  They used to be known as the Key Malts but they have recently been rebranded and repackaged.  We reviewed one of the expressions (Woody and Vanillic) earlier here.

Today we are going to visit two more from this series.  This time we are going to give each of our impressions.  Although we tasted these together, we each took notes separately and didn’t discuss the whisky until after we finished with our notes.

Single Coffey Grain

This whisky is a single grain that was distilled using a Coffey Still.  It was aged 12 years and is bottled at 55% ABV.

Chris’ Impressions:

Color:  Medium amber and orange

Nose:  Surprising alcohol burn up front, sweet grain, oddly enough a lot of bourbon notes, licorice and vanilla.

Palate:  As expected the grain sweetness, cereal, decent middle tongue heat.

Finish:  Medium on strong cereal notes and grain.

Comments:  A nice grain whisky, a lot livelier than I expected, not the smooth mild grain whisky that I experienced with the Suntory Chita Single Grain.

Nate’s Impressions:

As always, I must confess up front that I like Nikka’s style.  I’ve pretty much enjoyed anything above their 7-11 grade whiskies (and at times, I’ve enjoyed those as well).  The Coffey Still’s color, like its name, intrigued me.  It was a light gold but with a shadowy tone shifting about.  The nose came on sweet and hot with caramel and salt.  No hiding the elevated heat here.  The body was sweet grain and aged rum that graduated to toffee and chocolate.  The flavors stuck around with an addition of a chewy spice.  A quickly satisfying whisky with a solid tail.

Peaty and Salty

This whisky is also aged for 12 years and is bottled at 55% ABV.  I wish there were more details on this whisky – cask type, type of barley, ect. 

Chris’ Impressions:

Color:  Burnt orange

Nose:  Peat right up front, woody

Palate:  Ashy peat, the expected salt – almost too much for me, strong wood/oak presence, drying, musty wood, some dark spices

Finish:  Medium, peaty and dry

Comments:  Straight forward and delivers as advertised from the name.  It tasted like a pumped up Laphroaig 10 with more heat and with some of the blanks filled in.  Good solid whisky.

Nate’s Impressions:

The appropriately named Peaty and Salty.  Indeed, it is peaty and salty from nose to tail.  I don’t think there was ever a more appropriately named whisky.  Bronze and copper, the nose is peaty and salty.  And perhaps a little apple snuck in there.  The body starts out with some peaty and, yes, salty flavors.  And a little vegetation.  The peat shifts gears and takes on a smokier profile and settles into a dusty char.  The salt takes on a sweet edge and then reasserts itself.  Then these new angles on peaty and salty have a prolonged engagement in your mouth.  A reserved and reliable presence.  You can taste the attention to detail.  A lot of skill, technique and control were employed in making this whisky.  No surprises, no unexpected turn of events (for better or worse).  It is peaty and salty and good.


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A Short History of Nikka Whisky

This is only a brief summary of the founding of Nikka whisky.  There are far more details and facts to this story but trying to write the entire history in a blog posting isn’t a very realistic task.  I do need to acknowledge Olive Checkland’s book Japanese Whisky, Scotch Blend for which most of the finer details and facts were derived from.  If you want to learn more about this story I suggest you give Checkland’s book a read, it is filled with great information.

The Beginning

Taketsuru Masataka was born in Takahara, Hiroshima Prefecture in 1894. He came from a long line of sake brewers, so he was introduced to the alcohol business at an early age. Taketsuru originally was training to be a chemist but then shifted courses when a brewing class was offered. Although he was not finished with his studies he was offered a position at the spirit company Settsu Shuzu by the owner Abe Kihei. What happened next was the start of the Japanese whisky industry.

In 1917 Abe decided that he wanted to send someone to Scotland to learn how to make genuine whisky. At the time, Japan wasn’t producing whisky but rather ersatz, a substitute/artificial spirit, as well as fortified wines. Fortunately for Taketsuru, he was chosen for the pioneering trip to Scotland to learn to make whisky. So in 1918 Taketsuru set off for  Scotland. With the ease of world travel these days it is difficult to fully appreciate the significance of making this trip. It was definitely not common for a Japanese national to travel all the way to Scotland. What made things even more challenging was that it appeared that Taketsuru had no concrete plan on how he was going to accomplish his task of learning to make whisky. But as we know now he succeeded.

To Scotland!

Taketsuru arrived in Glasgow in December 1918. He then headed north to Elgin in the Speyside region. What was more significant was that he was going to Elgin to meet J.A. Nettleton who wrote The Manufacture of Spirit as Conducted in the Distilleries of the United Kingdom, which is arguably the seminal book on whisky distillation.  Unfortunately for Taketsuru the fee to be tutored by Nettleton at the time was more than he could afford.  Instead Taketsuru headed to Longmorn where he was allowed to apprentice for five days.  At Longmorn Taketsuru was able to gain invaluable practical whisky making experience.  After that Taketsuru spent two weeks at the now closed grain distillery of Bo’ness.  Then last Taketsuru spent five months working at the Campbeltown distillery of Hazelburn.  It must also be noted that while immersing himself in whisky, Taketsuru met and ultimately married Rita Cowen.  The story of Taketsuru and Rita is an interesting and inspiring one.  There was a great article in the Japan Times about them.

Back to Japan

Taketsuru returned back to Japan at the end of 1920 and back to his employer Settsu Shuzu.  His experience in Scotland had changed him significantly and he was now determined to make authentic Scotch whisky.  Unfortunately this determination ran counter to Settsu Shuzu’s plans for him.  They wanted Taketsuru to continue making ersatz.  Frustrated, Taketsuru ultimately left Settsu Shuzu.


Then in 1923 Taketsuru was asked by Torii Shinjiro  to come to his new whisky making company, Suntory, to help with establishing Japan’s first whisky distillery.  Taketsuru wanted the location of the distillery to be up in northern Japan in Hokkaido.  He believed that the climate and conditions were similar to Scotland and would produce the best results.  Torii on the other hand wanted the distillery in southern Japan at Yamazaki, close to Kyoto and that was were it was ultimately built.  Taketsuru spent several years helping to build the Yamazaki distillery and then working as the distillery manager.  Then in 1928 Suntory purchased a brewery in Yokohama.  It is not exactly clear why, but Taketsuru was sent to manage the beer company.  Slowly, Taketsuru was relieved of his duties at Yamazaki.  As a result, in 1934 Taketsuru left Suntory to go out on his own and start his own whisky company.

Nikka Whisky

Taketsuru was going to establish his distillery were he had always wanted to:  Hokkaido, specifically in the town of Yoichi.  The northern island had many attributes similar to climate of Scotland, including the cold winters.  There was  slight issue with setting up his whisky company.  Although, Taketsuru’s real motive was to start his own whisky distilling company, it would have been insulting to Torii to immediately do so.  So the original company established by Taketsuru was Dai Nihon Kaju Kabushiki Kaisha – The Great Japan Juice Company.  That’s right, Taketsuru started a juice company, specifically an apple juice company.  However, the company diversified into cider as well as apple brandy. It was later in 1952 that from Nihon Kaju the Nikka name we know now was born.

Taketsuru experienced significant difficulties with the business side of running the company.  Yoichi was difficult to access and it was not easy or cheap to transport products to the main island of Japan.  The company took fairly significant losses for the first several years.  Finally, in 1940 Nikka released its first whisky into the market.  From there the company began to flourish.  Surprisingly it, along with Suntory, did well during the war years – supplying the military with whisky.

Nikka continued to grow and expanded by building another distillery at Sendai – Miyagikyo and at Nishinomiya – a grain distillery.  Nikka has even expanded and completed the cycle for Taketsuru by returning to Scotland and purchasing the Ben Nevis distillery.  Nikka continues to grow even today by gaining more recognition outside of Japan as a serious whisky producer .  For the rest of this week we will share our impressions of some of this great whisky company’s expressions.  Thanks for reading!


Filed under Imbibed Musings, Nikka, Yoichi

Nikka From The Barrel: The Tasting That Almost Wasn’t

Corresponding from Japan Nate has unsurprisingly found some time to drink – and to be fair write too I guess:

When preparing to review this whisky, something I have been anticipating with more than a little excitement, I managed to spill a cup of water on the desk behind and under my computer. Luckily, while the computer did shut down ever-so-briefly, catastrophe was avoided and it booted right back up.

After cleaning up the traces of water I sat down and got ready to sample in earnest, which was when I knocked my glass of freshly poured whisky over, splashing it onto the neighboring window and the increasingly put-upon desk. Amazingly I didn’t swear. A thorough cleansing of the window, desk, and floor and I was back in the saddle. Now that the desk had enjoyed a water with a whisky back, I was a bit envious and even more in the mood for a drink.

In the interest of avoiding any further delay (earthquake, sunspot activity) I quickly poured another sample and got down to business. Frankly, it is hard to believe this whisky costs under $20 for a 500ml. The 51.4% pedigree and the cool rectangular bottle with a handsomely Spartan label would have been enough for me. But this whisky delivered beyond the already pleasing aesthetics. I found it possessed of solid and shifting flavors with a light, watery mouth-feel. Classic Yoichi dark and dense malt, a trace of lemon, and decent heat. Hints of roast mushroom and burnt sugar preceded a curiously satisfying tail including a mildly sweet, dark numbing character with a touch of charred grain. Satisfying, and a bargain at twice the price, which is why I am saving my receipts for customs.

Edit:  This whisky has been very popular lately.  We suggest you read Joshua’s, Jason’s and Gal’s reviews too.

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The Best of Both Worlds

I’ve been asked if I could only have one more drink what would it be?  My response is a bifurcated one:  If you mean one drink for the rest of my life, it would be beer.  If you mean the last drink at the end of my life, it would be whisky.  And I stand by that.  But then I started thinking there’s a bit of a false dichotomy there.  Of if not that, there is the kernel of an interesting angle.  An angle, Charlie.  How would the two work together?  Obviously we have all benefited of late from the increasingly proclivity of brewers to age their fare in whisky barrels of varying stripe.  But what of a pairing?  Enough beating around the bush, plenty of time for prose later.  And thus I record the first in a serious of beer and whisky pairings.  Beer and food pairings: love it, a blast.  Wine and cheese pairings: one of my favorite late night pastimes.  I’ve “paired a lot of beer and whisky” in my time, but it was usually the result of “ran out of beer, moving on to whisky” or vice versa.  So now it is time to pair the two in the classical sense.  I decided to start at the top and work up from there (see previous why beat around the bush reference).

Tonight’s pairing featured Lost Abbey’s Deliverance and Nikka’s Yoichi 10 year Single Cask.  Deliverance was an easy choice, the City Beer Store had an ample supply and I figured the combined bourbon/brandy barrel aging would work well with Yoichi’s well-heated, dense-and-dark profile.  Deliverance poured out an opaque, dark-and-brown.  The ephemeral head quickly dissipated into the Saturn’s ring of Don Ho’s tiny bubbles lining the rim of the glass.  Chocolate and vanilla were in the nose before an earnest nosing even got under way.  A decent mouthful, with a coating presence, quickly delivered burnt caramel with a restrained sweetness.  I could not easily parse out the bourbon from the brandy influence thanks to an incredibly well-balanced character, from the wood (from the taste of it), that resulted in a lush combination of both.  Lingering spirits in the cheek let you know you were enjoying something with a kick, which was well veiled even when the chocolate was gone.  And then it was Yoichi time.  An admission.  Yoichi’s ten-year single malt is my favorite whisky.  I put a period at the end of that last sentence on purpose: It is the whisky that Sauron distilled in Mordor right after he finished up with the one ring.  I have recorded many reviews of the malt but published none.  I like it that much, an ode I cannot yet trust myself to properly express.  But I’m getting past my foibles and will be attesting to my take on it in expansive detail soon.  As for now, let’s get down to business.  The first sip of the 22-carat liquor was tightly bound grains with off-in-the-distance tracers of smoke.  Traces of Vietnamese coffee and a delectable meat note I, curiously, associate with a particular hop.  The mild roasted front quickly gave way to a surge of roasted malt and heat.  The wave receded with a wake of dark sugars and a subtle mushroom note.  A few more sips brought out the chewy, roasted doughiness and the lingering, dark umami I traditionally draw from this Yoichi.

So the tail of the Deliverance muted the brunt of the Yoichi resulting in an excellent transition from spirited brew to boastful spirit.  A solid combination.  But I had enough of each for a return trip, so it was back to the Abbey’s Deliverance.  Thanks to Yoichi’s taste-bud altering presence another aspect of the blended ale was out front.  Brown sugar! I choose my exclamation points carefully.  I don’t need to ask why the brown sugar tasted so good (Mick took care of that for me); it was there along with a slightly lightened body, brandy, and milk chocolate.

Great interplay between the two, both of which are outstanding on their own.  I’m already looking forward to the next foray into liquid-liquid paring… but right now I think I will, in the interest of accuracy, pit some more of that Deliverance against Hokkaido’s finest. (N. Nicoll)

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Nikka Woody and Vanillic

Oh the amount of sophomoric humor that we could launch into from the name of this malt…I will refrain however, in a more than likely futile attempt to maintain any semblance of dignity this blog might have.  Nikka is the second of Japan’s large distilleries that rivals Suntory.  And what has become an all too common theme, Nikka is not available in the United States at this time.  Nikka has two distilleries:  Yoichi (余市), located in the city of Yoichi on the northern island of Hokkaido and Miyagikyou (宮城峡)  in the northern part of the Japanese main island of Honshu.

Nikka Malts

Nikka has a  line up of Yoichi 12 year old whiskies that used to be called the Key Malt Series.  They have since been re-branded, but the names still carry over.  They are all aged for 12 years and impart different flavors.  Today I am siping on the Woody and Vanillic expression.   They do not provide too much information about the spirit, other than it is at least 12 years old and is bottled at 55%ABV.  Sorry the picture has a couple of the other expressions in it, I will review those shortly.

Color:  Dark amber

Nose:  Pears, sarsaparilla, apple juice, fairly heavy oak, vibrant and lively…something good is happening here.

Palate:  Really strong initially, the oak kicks in hard – but not over oaky for my tastes, a lot of malt, I think I taste where they get the vanilla from (might just be a placebo – will have to taste blind), mushroom/earthy tones, a little bit of salt in there too.

Finish:  Short, its like it evaporated but leaves traces of the oak,  mushrooms and the alcohol heat.

Comment:  The nose really set this up but the palate faltered some and the finish really let me down.  It could be so much more!  Decent dram.


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Nikka Yoichi Single Cask 25 Year Old

Yet another single cask Yoichi.  This time aged 25 years.  We have reviewed the 5 year and the 10 year previously.  The 5 year was a little too raw for my liking and the 10 just sings!  How will the 15 year hold up?  Nate and I both independently took notes on this one.

Nikka Yoichi Single Cask 25 year old.  Cask No. 22I08A bottled at 54%

Nikka Yoichi Single Cask 25


Color – light yellow

Nose –  malt, smoke meat, hints of sweetness

Palate – full, sweet candies, salty, hints of smoke, malt, alcohol opens up through the nose, ripe bananas.

Finish – full, sweet, lingering numbness


Color -lustrous yellow

Nose – marshmallow, light peat, butter

Palate – grain, salt, light smoke, coconut?

Finish – lingering grain and slight medicinal notes

All in all this is wonderful whisky.  It is more restrained and refined than the 10 year old.  The flavors are better integrated but very feisty for a 25 year old whisky.

* Although slightly out of order, there is a 15 year old single cask sitting around here somewhere that needs to be tried again – so look for that in the near future.


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