(Thanks again to /u/Scotch_Fanatic for these drams, I think he’s 20 feet tall and fights back the worms of the earth)
I have had a checkered past with Japanese whisky. Truthfully, I didn’t use to treat it all that well, because each one I had weren’t that great.
Over time I’ve realized that’s because I had too many hits to the head as a child. Oh, and I just hadn’t had any that were that great. Eventually a mod around here that ryhmes with Carbuncle showed me the light with some swaps.
Today I’m reviewing Nikka Yoichi SMWS 116.20 “Fascinating complexity & finesse”, which evokes an athlete of amazing skill who speaks worse than I do after 5 drams and a punch to the face.
Yoichi is one of two of Nikka’s distilleries. The yang part of it (I assume), they make meatier, bolder malts that really just wish they could macrimae and dance without being judged.
Let’s see how this dram holds up.
Price: N/A in Ontario
Age: 26 years
Cask Type: Virgin Oak Puncheon
Nose: Currant, smoke, violets, dark brown sugar, zucchini, cereal, evergreen
When I reviewed this, I assumed it was in a sherry barrel, given the currant and dark chocolate notes. The fact that it was in Virgin oak surprises me, however that does explain the vegetal and evergreen notes.
Eventually the virgin oak notes take over a little bit too much for me, however it’s a solid nose otherwise.
Taste: Raisin, hot, pine, ginger, vanilla, cinnamon candy, menthol
Again, seems like a sherry cask. Really hot and menthol-y. I’m not the biggest fan of some of the hot ass notes, yet love the cinnamon candy.
Also not that balanced for a 26 year old whisky. Would have guessed it’s a lot younger.
Finish: Woody, dark cherry, lemon pulp, mint, basil, chili flakes, smoke
Deep flavours mixed with the typical virgin oak nature of the whisky.
Conclusion: And this is why you have to go slow with a virgin at first. Otherwise there’s just blood and tears everywhere. And any women involved won’t be happy either.
So I’m somewhat torn on this one. Some of the notes, complexity, and all that are big, bashing, and great. And others are too much (mint, pine, etc.). It may be the barrel type, or it may be the virgin oak.
It is a pretty well put together dram though, and I wouldn’t pass up another dram. Maybe just not buy a bottle.
World Whisky review #83, Japan review #11, Whisky network review #427