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Our final entry comes from Nikka's first distillery, Yoichi, on Hokkaido island. It was founded by Masataka Taketsuru in 1933 (I believe Miyagikyo was founded in the 1960s). Yoichi malts tend to be more robust, and a little smokier, than what comes out of Miyagikyo. Besides this 15yo, there are 10, 12, 20 and NAS standard expressions.
The nose is thick and robust, with wafting wet smoke. Dried fruits such as dates and raisins are predominant, but a strong maltiness is in the background holding it all together. Water brings out a certain meatiness. Reminiscent of the Taketsuru 21 year old. Beautifully rich.
The palate is gentle at first but develops in your mouth with oak (causing a mouth-drying effect). Oily and slightly vegetal, in a good way. Water ups the spice, showing cayenne, pepper and a hint of brine (an almost Springbank-y effect). Rich and delicious.
The finish is long, deep and rich with wafting waves of that gentle damp campfire smoke. I love this whisky - it's big and complex, yet also very harmonious. Beautifully done. And so this concludes my series on these six Nikkas - I hope you enjoyed reading about them as much as I enjoyed tasting them!