As I would reveal at the end of the tasting when everyone would have made their final guesses, the second dram we tasted was the Yoichi Single Malt NAS. It is widely available, bottled at 45% abv in a 70cl bottle. You can find it at Master of Malt and The Whisky Exchange for about £75, and in France 75€ on Amazon.fr or LMDW.
(As perfectly described by Brian) Pale gold in the glass, swirls cling to the glass and fall as slow thick legs.
Coldorak: Sweet smoke. Quieter nose than Yoichi 1. A bit of grass, and some floral notes. Some damp earthiness. On the nose I’d say the abv is lower than the 1st. With water: nose is sweeter.
Ainulindalë: Nail polish and polish and polish. Under that, sweet smoke and some young roses and a hint of stone fruits again, with a finish on oak (albeit lighter than the previous).
Alistair: Instantly less sweet than the previous however retains the fruit character – tinned fruits, an umami edge that loses power to freshly opened Polo Fruits.
Brian: The ABV gets you straight away, again seems high. Again, a little vanilla, oak and polish.
John: Much fresher on the nose, more floral, but also more earthy too – more layers going on here… Damp straw now, heather and maybe a slight hint of apple going on but it’s way back…
Paul: The abv seems a little calmer here. Bit of polished oak, earthy, sweet, white grape, quite floral, fresh cut grass. Very different this one.
Coldorak: Quieter arrival, smokey, a bit earthy, touch of spices, a bit oily mouthfeel but way thinner than Yoichi 1. My money’s on 45% abv, so the “regular” NAS single malt. Oak again, vanilla and a bit of grass. Some citrus too. Thinner than the first Yoichi tasted. With water: palate is sweeter and oakier.
Ainulindalë: A bit underwhelming. Wanes and waxes. Starts on a floral set of roses to me, followed by smoke. The saltiness is there behind as salt crystals in good cheese, almost cracking under the teeth. I’m not ready to bet on that low of an ABV yet. Water makes it a lot fresher, almost sea worthy, but sadly tones down the floral side of it a bit yet brings out some fruits
Alistair: A lower abv evidenced by no alcohol burn, floral overtones with bottom notes of vanilla, charred oak and crème brûlée.
Brian: The ABV isn’t as strong as the first one, so I’m guessing 45%, lots of grass and floral notes, again a little hint of smoke and some orchard fruit.
John: Slightly sharper on the palate, more citric – thinner too. The oak is there too but much more balanced than the previous dram…
Paul: Yep abv is calmer, quite a bit of wood spice, vanillas, quite creamy – ice cream. Fudge, quite floral and grassy. I’m going with that one being the 45%er. A lot of vanilla in it, so could be that vanilla thingy, but the abv gives it away I think.
Coldorak: Long, on a light smoke, oak spices and a bit of caramel. With water, the finish is a bit pepperish but way more attenuated.
Ainulindalë: Falls short as a cliff, even though it gives hints of roses flying in the wind
Alistair: A medium length finish of tinned fruits and more assertive charred oak.
Brian, John and Paul didn’t give finish notes.
Guesses so far:
Coldorak: Yoichi Single Malt NAS
Ainulindalë: I’d vote for Peaty & Salty for Yoichi 2 for now.
Alistair: I think #2 is the Yoichi NAS Single Malt.
Brian: Yoichi Single Malt NAS
John: I’m in agreement mate – think that is the NAS 45%
Paul: ndCold: Not clearly said, but I understand Paul thought it was the Yoichi Single Malt NAS due to the lower abv.