Yoichi NAS blind tasting lineup

A blind evening with friends and Yoichi whisky

On Friday 22 of November, I organized a small blind tasting with friends I had sent samples to months ago. After a few last minutes cancellations, we were finally able to have that tasting, and the theme was 4 Nikka Yoichi non-age-statement single malts: the classic Single Malt one available in your usual liquor shop, and three distillery exclusives named Woody & Vanillic, Sherry & Sweet and Peaty & Salty. I’ll come back to it later, but tl;dr: it was a great evening, and the drams were really good. Oh, and I said blind tasting: well, kind of. We knew what drams we were going to taste, but had no idea of the order. Myself included. But let’s talk about Yoichi first.

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Yoichi Peaty & Salty review

Yoichi Peaty & Salty review

As I would reveal at the end of the tasting when everyone would have made their final guesses, the fourth and last dram we tasted was the Yoichi Single Malt Peaty & Salty. It is a distillery exclusive bottled at 55% abv, without age statement, in a 50 cl bottle. I paid 130€ on auction for this bottle including 60€ in shipping cost as the seller was from Hong-Kong.

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Yoichi Sherry & Sweet review

Yoichi Sherry & Sweet review

As I would reveal at the end of the tasting when everyone would have made their final guesses, the third dram we tasted was the Yoichi Single Malt Sherry & Sweet. It is a distillery exclusive bottled at 55% abv, without age statement, in a 50 cl bottle. I paid 110€ on aution for this bottle, including 60€ of shipping cost as the seller was from Hong-Kong.

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Yoichi Woody & Vanillic review

Yoichi Woody & Vanillic review

During a blind tasting with friends, and as I would reveal at the end of the tasting when everyone would have made their final guesses, the first dram we tasted was the Yoichi Single Malt Woody & Vanillic. It is a distillery exclusive bottled at 55% abv, without age statement, in a 50cl bottle. I bought it for 120€ on auction, half the price being shipping as it came from a Hong-Kong seller.

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SMWS – A small cigar can change the world

SMWS – A small cigar can change the world

Lineup of the tasting
What a mighty lineup

Early september, I discovered there was events where you could taste SMWS whiskies as well as cigars – and boy what that an excellent discovery.
This time around, the French ambassadors reached out to me and asked me whether I would be interested in an “exclusive” session where we would taste a whisky selected just for France – SMWS 7.217 – Joie de vivre. This session would again be at Gentleman 1919, which I’m starting to love more and more.

Obviously, I accepted – and I can only thank them for that as I missed the Whisky Live due to friends having the bad idea of having their wedding that week-end. This was then the occasion for me to forget about the sheer pain it caused and soothe my broken heart by downing some drams.

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Saint George's SMWS 137.3

SMWS 137.3 – Smouldering englishness

The third SMWS release from Saint George’s Distillery (The English Whisky), a 9 years old first fill ex-bourbon barrel. This one measured against the Laphroaig I had before – which was hard, but I was told it was founded by an ex from Laphroaig based on English peat. Why not?

Saint George SMWS 137.3
Image courtesy of SMWS

Nose

A very surprising juniper start, followed by sea salt, chocolate and apricot, and at the very end a low key custard.

Palate

Attacking on an alcoholic burn. Milk chocolate, very smooth smoke with a slight sea salty after taste.

Finish

Finish a bit short yet on sea salt crystals, with this smooth smoke bringing them forward.

Comments

I discovered a new distillery with this one. I have absolutely no regret but this one: I waited for the Joie de vivre release on October 10th to make my order and there was none of this release left. My world is misery.

Rating: 89/100

Glen Grant SMWS 9.168

SMWS 9.168 – Cedar bigger picture

I tend not to really go for the Light & Delicate category of the SMWS. Usually, I’m a fan of strong flavours. So I eyed this Glen Grant with some bias, I’m afraid. But heh – why not try? It came from a refill ex-bourbon hogshead.

Glen Grant SMWS 9.168
Image courtesy of SMWS

Nose

At first, the typical Glen Grant citrus came out along with some sort of astringency, on a background of meringue and some oak.

Palate

Very surprising meringue on the attack! Then lemon meringue pie, lemon meringue pie, and lemon meringue pie again with some slight vanilla at the end.

Finish

Short finish, sadly.

Comments

It was a surprise as when I mentioned lemon meringue pie, everyone present said “ooh yes!”. It’s not often to feel such a clear cut, explicit sensory experience shared across an assembly of 6.

Rating: 85/100