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Nikka, founded by Masataka Taketsuru, has two distilleries. Miyagikyo (founded in 1969) on the main island of Japan and this Yoichi (founded in 1934, pronounced ‘yo-ee-chee’ with the emphasis on the final syllable) on the island of Hokkaido (of which Taketsuru felt it resembled the Scottish climate the most and was hence the best location for the distillery). I tasted the 10 Year Old head-to-head with the 12 Year Old, both bottled at an ABV of 45%.
The nose is a soft caress of apricots and apples, mildly spicy with quite a bit of smoke and oak. Some almonds. Nice, without being overly complex.
On the palate, it shows more power and is quite creamy. The smoke is more pronounced too. Nice balance and very drinkable.
The medium length finish is bittersweet, but doen not lose any punch. It surprises with a salty touch at the end.
This is a dangerously quaffable malt, a no- nonsense Nikka, that shows it power in the finish. I thought this was going to be a Japanese entry malt, but feel it is too complex to be called that (which, of course, is a compliment).