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