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Nikka Yoichi 10 Year Old

Average score from 16 reviews and 40 ratings 84

Nikka Yoichi 10 Year Old

Product details

  • Brand: Nikka Yoichi
  • Bottler: Unknown
  • ABV: 45.0%
  • Age: 10 year old

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Nikka Yoichi 10 Year Old

This is like velvet on the palate. Oily enough to create nice, soft velvet coating without being too oily. Creamy texture with good flavours – dark and sweet notes.

"Like Some Velvet Morning" came to my mind when thinking about movies. Like the film, Yoichi 10 yrs is dark and mysterious. but obviously much better.

Actually, "Like Some Velvet Morning" the song by Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood is more like this whisky. Tender and strong notes.

Nose: First, reminds me of beer. Malted, fresh barley with fruits. Floral notes rising from the back. Freshly vibrant and dark dram.

Taste: Nicely oily, creating a touch of velvet. Turns into coal smoke with some vanilla, fruits and nutty toffee.

Finish: Oak with fruity notes in a creamy finish. Smoke coming nicely from depths in the aftertaste.

Balance: Pure velvet, with deep and dark flavours. Great dram!

@Rantavahti a good review! This really is THE Nikka distillery.

Thank you very much @Frost! This was my first Yoichi, but I'm starting to think so too.


I heard a lot of good things about japanese whiskies but each time I was looking to buy one, I started by doing my homework and was reading all the reviews on the net. Each time I was reading the same comments: great balance, some dryness and subtle. My own decoder was reading: kind of a light blend not very special: Not a whisky for me.

Reading those reviews, I didn't understand why all those reviewers where telling how much they love those whiskyies. That was enough for keeping me curious but not for buying one. So , the other day, when I was at my local liquor store looking at the same old exhibit of knowned whiskies whith a wee bit of disappointment, I greeted with eagerness the opportunity giving to me by a product consultant of tasting a new arrival not yet on the shelf: the new Yoichi 10 yo.

Was I lucky! I think I'm under a spell. It was like kind of a revelation... Almost an epiphany. It was that good!

First the nose. Already the balance is there. All the flavors you'll get on the palate are there but the backbone of this whisky take the front, just waving at you telling you that it will be the story teller. So you have a really beautifull wood, blond oak, with a smoke that doesn't burn the wood and a vanilla that doesn't take the stage but will enhance all the others flavors. You already expect a very good whisky with mild flavor but you're not prepare for what will come next: the palate.

At the beginning, you have some dried fruits, a lot like a pot still but more in the background. But they managed to keep the focus on those fruits anyway. I think that is because you don't have the acetone notes and all the others chemical notes that you usually find with the pot still. So for me who find that the Irish whiskies are agressively overplaying those dried fruits, I love the foreplay between this background player and the story teller.

Then come the second player: the burned caramel is a bit like the one in the Nadurra but at midrange. Maybe because this caramel is more smoked than burned or even better maybe because the caramel is in a sensual pas-de-deux with the smoke... And as the palate expand in your mouth you are coming aware of the third player.

The esthers. And I think of Longmorn. Yes, some plum with an hint of star anise that is like a velvet sheet revealing more than hiding everything that goes underneath and that will remained at the end of a very long fading away.

Yes, this whisky is a real story teller making you travelled from Ireland to Speyside to Islay (since there is also, for some, a hint of peat and salt) with his own japanese voice that is his incredible balance.

May I need to say that it is now one of my favorites whiskies?

I meant that the dried fruits are a lot like the ones in an IRISH pot still.


This whisky is outstanding for a 10 year old. The smoke is perfect and not overpowering.

On the Nose: Hint of freshly lit matchstick (which I much prefer over a smoky and earthy peat), vanilla, toffee, faint hint of sea salt, Enticing yet not overpowering. Makes me want to take a sip.

On the Palate: mild smoke, sea salt, toffee, chocolate, fruity

Finish: faint smoke, sea salt, warmth, smooth with a slight burn of alcohol (which I thoroughly enjoyed).

I prefer this whisky over the Glenlivet 18, Highland Park 18, Lagavulin 16. Glennfiddich 15 is better (unless you're looking for smoky) and cheaper Johnnie Walker Blue is the best but not worth the price.


Yoichi on Hokkaido is Japan’s second oldest distillery (after Yamazaki) and the brainchild of Masetaka Taketsuru. It has been producinig since 1936. It is part of the Nikka concern to which Myagikyo also belongs. This official bottling was released in 2009.

Quite some fruit in the nose, but also a lot of smoke, more than on the regular 10 Year Old. I would swear I smell peat. Very spicy with hints of nuts as well.

On the palate, I cannot let go of the impression that peat was used. Earty notes as well. The fruit (apple and some apricots) are overcome by brine. I was not expecting this. But it is pleasant all the same. From the second sip on, it becomes a lot sweeter, but the liquorice becomes quite loud as well.

The finish is long, a bit salty and spicy.

Well, I honestly was not expecting such a peaty Yoichi, but what a pleasant surprise indeed. Good stuff, mind you! Unfortunately long gone.


The reviewed 180 ml bottle has been open for a little more than a year and is 40% full. Thanks to @talexander for giving it to us as a gift. The review is in sequential format

Nose: when first opened, very grassy, like new-mown hay and tart lemon citrus, a hint of nutty maltiness, and slight hints of wine and vanilla. After opened a year, it is still very grassy and citrusy, with the wine, nuttiness and vanilla becoming stronger

Taste: for the first year after opening, this Yoichi 10 yo was pleasant, but rather tight in its malty flavour range. The grassy/malty nose described above translated onto the palate. Now the wine influence is more noticeable and a sweetness not much in evidence at first has developed. In this respect this reminds me of the sweetness I saw develop in a recent bottle of Highland Park 12 yo after it had had 7 months time with exposure to air. I liked this Yoichi 10 at first, but I like it better now, after it has taken a lot of air. It is broader and richer now than at first

Finish: moderate length when first opened, and ending on the tart grassy malt; long-opened this finishes on much longer pleasant sweet wine flavours with a contrast of tart citrusy barley malt

Balance: this is a pretty simple malt, which adds some complexity when it takes on air. It is always pleasant, if you like the grassy and citric qualities deriving from malted barley whisky. Most people aren't going to wait for the long-aired version of Yoichi 10 to become available to them, but if you do, it is quite a pleasant version, based on this little bottle of it

About a month ago I bought my first Highland Park 12 yrs and I liked it very much, interesting to see how it develops (almost halfway through though).

Very interesting review again about the air exposure. I should start to do it myself but my problem is the fact that my cabinet's whisky quantity is always too low. That's why I tend to drink my bottles way too quickly...I'm a good drinker but a bad collector

@Victor, does the Yoichi 10 been known for being quite different from batch to batch? This year edition seems completly different from the one you reviewed.


Yochi produce what they consider to be a masculine whisky. The use of coal fired stills gives this whisky a more robust and confronting single malt then the sweeter more floral stuff i tended to expect from Japan. Good stuff

  • Nose: not what I expected from Japan. This is almost confronting, salt and peat arrive first (not unlike Talisker but sweeter), notes of eucalyptus, mint and maybe Cointreau? Tobacco again along with cloves and ginger. With water some fig and liquorice comes out.

  • Pallet: silky smooth feel gives way to spicy arrival, pepper and coriander (among other herbs) with cloves and some wood flavours. With water bit more of everything.

  • Finish: dry, spicy and sea breeze, definitely a Sprinkbank like finish. With water intensely salty now water has been added.

Again, not what i expected from Japan. Its definitely not a whisky you want to take lightly. More like one you would pour 2 measures of and spend a good hour on. This is purely subjective, i enjoyed the malt but somehow i found it difficult to get my head around.


Yoichi is produced at Yoichi distillery, located on Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost main island. The distillery belongs to Nikka Whisky Distilling Company that in turn is owned by Asahi Breweries. Nikka was established in 1934 by Masataka Taketsuru, one of the founders of the Japanese whisky industry.

The nose starts with some rubbery notes and fruity elements like vanilla and peaches. Then there is caramel and a distinct malty component. Finally I also detected some smoke but it is much less pronounced than I would have expected after having read a number of reviews. I like this nose: nothing spectacular but good, solid workmanship.

The palate is very smooth and almost creamy at first, then quickly changes track and becomes spicy and peppery. There is also an earthy element – that I find very appealing – next to notes of honey and almonds. The longer the whisky lingers in your mouth the more voluminous it seems to become.

The finish is of medium length and rather dry. A touch of smoke lingers on for a while, followed by some very light floral elements.

I like this whisky. The nose is many-sided and interesting, proof of what the people at the distillery are capable of. The highlight for me is the palate, though: the range of impressions that run over the tongue is amazing, going from smooth and creamy to spicy and peppery in no time. Very impressive! This is another of those single malts that one can recommend without reservation.


Yoichi 10 @Day 0

This Yoichi 10 year old is from a 5cl sample bottle received with other Japanese single malts recently. I'm looking forward to this one as tasting notes I've seen mention a peaty nose and a "shocking" peat hit on the palate - I hope that's shocking in a good way! We shall see. I've let this sit for 10 minutes in a Libbey tasting glass with a lid on.

Nose: Soft smoke and peat evident immediately, fragrant floral notes, followed by Cointreau and cream, some nuttiness - almond? Walnut? Golden syrup, spices, firm oak, I think there is some sherry influence here. Enchanting. Caramelised honey develops with time in the glass. With water: Tropical fruits and floral notes come to the fore.

Taste: Spices hit first on a silky bed of sumptuously clean, dry (smokeless) peat accompanied by leafy herbs, cloves, a touch of menthol (or is that mint?) and beautiful chewy wood tannins. This is great stuff. No problem at 45% ABV either - it's so silky with no alcohol bite to speak of. With water: Peat! With some cut dry hay maybe, still silky smooth, big and chewy. Has absorbed the water and just keeps on going.

Finish: Herbed spices, soft pepper, dry peat and fragrant wood (is that mizuna oak?) accompany the whisky to a very warm, rich and satisfying finale - even if it does fall a little short in length. With water: Shortens the finish further but otherwise stays intact.

Balance: The nose shows so much class and surprising complexity once you explore beyond the more obvious notes. The interplay between the fragrant, tannic oak, clean peat and sumptuous silky mouthfeel is quite marvellous and maintained from start to finish. Just the right amount of accompanying exotic spices and gentle pepper make for a superbly balanced dram.

Score: N23 T23 F22 B24 = 92

I wasn't expecting such a robust and multi-faceted whisky. A really more-ish dram from start to finish, exhibiting a level of richness and complexity that belies it's 10 years. I wouldn't say that the peat usage is "shocking" as one taster described it, but it is very well executed nonetheless.

Yoichi 10 @1 Week

Nose: Plums, peat smoke, peach syrup, sweet white grapes, a touch of soft icing sugar, vanilla. Fantastic fruity sugars. Superbly balanced. Could get lost in this nose..

Taste: Surprisingly tart but phenolic delivery of mixed citrus peel, vinegar, pepper, oak spice, plum and ginger sauce. Peat in the background as the palate develops. What a velvety delivery that was though!

Finish: Ash smoke, brine, citrus, hints of soft crips barley, delicate phenols linger on the back palate in a medium length but measured finish.

Balance: Superbly balanced without any element dominating either the nose or the palate. Peat is so well controlled and in the pefect quantity and "packaging" to complement the beautifully tart and velvety delivery. Only loses a point on the nose as the peat smoke dissipates rather quickly in the glass.

Score: N23 T24 F22 B24 = 92

The tart / phenolic / oak spice combo delivery is the best I've come across so far in a moderately peated whisky.

The twin faceted peat strand is intriguing; the constant phenolic "buzz" in the background and the attack on delivery and in the finish is fantastic.

Yoichi 10 @4 Weeks

Nose: Lovely sweet peat under custard cream and vanilla slice. A vague "mineral" note, fragrant, floral nectar and a touch of wood spice. Elegant. Sweet without being overly so. Really good stuff. [20 minutes later] Okay Iv'e nosed this for far too long, time to move to the palate otherwise I won't get to bed!

Taste: Wood spices delivered in a chewy, silky, mouth-coating, medium sweet delivery. A little hot and dry but not sharp, background tingle of peat, a little citrus (caramelised lime perhaps). Dryness on the front of the tongue is intriguing. Peat builds as the whisky is allowed to sit on the palate.

Finish: Dry savoury peat and lemon bitters. Crispness of the lingering peat and a hint of salt makes a really nice foil for the sweet fragrant nose and silky palate. Light, dry barley remains at the tail end in a pleasant, medium length finish.

Balance: All components so well in tune, it's hard not to be impressed! Enjoyable from the first to the last. Manages to combine sweet and savoury sensory experiences connected throughout by a central thread of sophisticated peat, hinting at a very high level of craftsmanship - the balance is simply textbook (or at least what I, in my limited experience would consider textbook). While the balance is superb, the complexity drops off a little in the finish.

Score: N23 T22 F21 B23 = 89

Simply, a "must try" whisky. The healthy 45% ABV allows the whisky to sing on the nose and palate (in particular), with a velvety and memorable sweet/savoury peat-infused experience across the board. Presently, if I only stocked one Japanese whisky (of reasonable availability and affordability) in my cabinet, THIS would be it.

Final (Average) Score: N23 T23 F21 B24 = 91


Nose: Initially this whisky had a bit of a rough aroma, but after sitting in the glass for a few minutes it seems to settle down. Vanilla, vague fruit aromas, and light, toasty peat waft out of the glass. I detect a slight herbal bitterness as well.

Taste: Malt and spice are the first to arrive, followed by a wave of peat smoke. The sweetness evolves into something more delicate and floral. I am reminded of Talisker 10 year old in its balance of sweet, smoky, and spicy. There is a bitter edge to the whisky which fades after a splash of water. The whole thing seems rather light-bodied and crisp, with the peat giving it some weight.

Finish: Caramel and vanilla fudge sit beneath a coating of peat smoke. The peat lingers as the rest fades.

Balance: While I agree with those that assert this whisky is a bit young and raw, it does strike a nice balance between sweet, smoky and spicy. Good complexity.


Colour is a fairly pale golden. Nose seems a little sweet and figgy. Very dusty and dry (like a sangiovese) with a hint of invert sugar. Like a molasses cookie. Finishes with a touch of fire and warmth in the back of the throat. Surprisingly delightful.


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).


Very interesting bottling that I received for Christmas.

Nose: The first dram I poured out of this bottle, I was surprised to found out that it is a peated whisky. Since then, I have hard time nosing any peat in this dram. Little bit of smoke or unidentified grilled aroma, very fruity, apples and some exotic fruits. A sugary note that I associated to maple syrup but I hesitated. And there was a strange note that I makes it very unique in the experiences I had since I discovered single malts. I put my nose it the glass several times and after a few tens of minutes I finally put a name on it. It was flowers. I am not good in flowers brands, so I won't try to say which flower it was, but it was definitively flowers.

Mouth: The fruits are still there, but more dry, notes of vanilla, some toffee also. very enjoyable.

Finale: Medium to long with the fruits being the dominant.

It is a very nice dram, quite expensive in Canada, but it is a journey to discovery outside Scotland. The Japanese at Nikka mastered the art of Whisky as they master everything they but their hearts in. I recommand it to everyone who wants to try something new, but well done.

Completely agreed @peanutaxis - the peat is so soft and aromatic and the whisky itself is like silk. I've not had anything like it before. I'll be posting a review soon. And thanks to @Kutter for this review!

Nice review. Japanese whiskies seem to have a sugary and floral aroma to them that sets them apart. Try to find Yamazaki if you can.


I've had this bottle for nearly six months now and I'm finally opening it. I was really shocked that it was a screw-off cap instead of a quark.

Nose: It's a very sweet nose from the start. There's a strong aroma of fresh cut pineapple, but if you breath in too deeply there's a sharp alcohol bite on the nose. The alcohol bite mellowed out a little after I let it sit for 5 minutes.

Palate: You really taste oak at first, but then the young age starts to show and the alcohol diminishes the flavours. It's very spicy on the tongue. I get a slight flavour of peanut shells.

Finish: The finish is medium-long. The spice really lingers on the tongue. There's more of that peanut shell taste and a little hay.

Overall: There's nothing bad about this whisky, but there is nothing that is really spectacular. The word adequate perfectly describes this whisky. I believe that if this whisky was aged a little more it would be quite smooth and remarkable. It's a decent drink and I would never turn a dram of this down, but it didn't do much for me.

I don't know what a bottle of this goes for in the rest of the world, but here in Ontario it's almost three times as much money as a basic Glenfiddich 12 and I don't really think it warrants that high price. I'm sure the government really jacks up the price in Ontario.

The LCBO website shows a Nikka Taketsuru 12y/o available along with a Karuizawa 8 y/o.

I think (really only think it could have been elsewhere) I've seen a Yamazaki and a Suntory "sample pack" available through vintages recently.

Is this the first Japanese whisky you have tried? do you know of any others that are available in Ontario?


Nose, Taste, Finish and Balance are graded out of 2.5 each:

Nose: Much like the luxury soap one finds in a fancy hotel. Or perhaps even an upmarket scented candle. Soap and wax in any case, however it is the subtle strawberry and peach edge that give it that elevated, luxury feel. There is definitely a youthful touch, very forthcoming with not much restraint, yet much to be admired. 2.0

Taste: Very vibrant and perhaps even brash, with more pepper than the nose would have suggested. A very delicate honey flavour attempts to offer stability, however as the oaky spice reverberates around the mouth there's no holding back. Quite explosive and certainly entertaining if nothing else. 1.5

Finish: A metallic wax comes to the fore as the spicy mushroom cloud begins to settle. Left standing in the dust we also find the unexpected yet very welcome duo of nougat and dried banana. Very much a finale worth sticking around for. 2.0

Balance: Complex and compelling. There is a raw vibrancy to it that grabs your attention from the start, and although the delivery is perhaps at times overly energetic, there's some serious depth beneath its youthful enthusiasm. Were this whisky to be allowed to develop and master its talent for a few more years, we'd be dealing with a very sophisticated customer. 2.0


Fresh nose on apple, apricot and pineapple candy. Orange peel. Spicy notes as well (clove, ginger). It’s immediately fruity and attractive but it shows more depth after a while. Faint notes of new leather and subtle peat. Doesn’t tolerate a lot of added water. Mouth: some vanilla. The oakiness grows stronger and the peat influence is more powerful than on the nose. Lots of sweet and roasted notes, but there’s also a salty, peaty edge towards the finish. Long aftertaste.

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