Well, Nikka has recently taken down their aged single malts across the board. This comes as Suntory also makes moves towards NAS releases. Seems the whole country is short on aged stock these days, and that’s sad news for those of us who love a good Japanese whisky. Today we’ve got a 12 year old Yoichi. While it has shot way up in price, it still can be found out there, but soon even a humble 12 year old like this will only be available at auctions, and for exorbitant prices no doubt. That being so; now’s a good time to appreciate the Japanese whiskies we’ve already got.
Nose: Oranges, apples, raisins, seared honey, grass, oak, woodspice, caramel, spice, and ginger. Layers of fruit mingle well with oak and spice.
Palate: Medium-bodied and fruity. Apples, honey, cinnamon, melon, pears, apricots, and peaches. Sounds sweet but it’s not. There’s also caramel, smoke, licorice, and earth.
Finish: Long finish. It gets a touch more bitter here. Sherry, stewed fruit, gooseberries, rhubarb, caramel, soy sauce, damp leaves, smoke, baking spices, woodspice, chili pepper, leather, and oak.
Thoughts: Compared to its 15 year old brother, this boasts more intensity and kick, and the finish is longer. But it’s also a tad less refined. By its own regard, though, I do like the 12. However it’s a bit of a chameleon; sometimes very bold, sometimes very smooth. It drinks big for 45%, and it’s punchy. Yes, it can be sour and rough around the edges, but there’s a lot going on here. Cool, tasty stuff, but not one of Nikka’s more “accessible” whiskies.
@Hunggar Very good review, very descriptive. Unfortunately for me, I only had 1 Yoichi before, the 10 yo. So the 12 yo sound very complex,that is very appealing to me, and you compare it to the 15 yo to say it has intensity and kick but how do you compare it to the 10 yo? How intense is the smoke and the peat compare to the 10 yo?
And about the price, presently in Québec, the only 15 yo from Nikka is the Miyagikyo and it goes for $175. Would you say it is that crazy where you are? I have to admit I paid $115 for the 10 yo and don't regret it at all as it is one of my favorite whisky. I paid about the same price for a Taketsuru 17 yo and the Yoichi is way more to my liking, although the Taketsuru is dangerously easy to drink. So should I start to build some inventory?
@Robert99, I appreciate the kind words. Aactually the only Yoichi whiskies I've had have been the 12 and 15 year olds. I sampled the 10 a long time ago, but couldn't tell you much about it.
As for the Maygikyou; no. I wouldn't pay even $100 for it. I've tasted and reviewed it, although I have yet to post the review. My score was 87. It was good, but definitely not $175 good. I'd stick to the Yoichi 10 or the Taketsuru 17 if you can still find them at those prices.
As for building an inventory, it may already be too late. I don't know how high prices have risen back home, but here anything from Nikka is now priced through the roof. I've tried enough of the range to know that it's good, but not worth the exorbitant prices all their aged malts will now command. But that's your call. Certainly the prices will only continue to climb with time.