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.
The color is Old Madeira. After a swirl in the glass, heads are slow to form and after a while, thin legs take quite their time to descend.
Coldorak: Neat, vanilla, a bit of nail varnish remover, some oak, and maybe peach and apricot. With water, the nose gets more caramel and sweetness.
Ainulindalë: Crème brulée, sandalwood, hint of varnish on the end, small touches of peach on the edge
And our friends:
Alistair: Sweet, umami, vanilla, polished oak, stewed pear.
Brian: Initial nose: vanilla and polish. A little oak, some polish and a little orchard fruit.
John: Getting quite a bit of oak and some dunnage and stone fruits
Paul: That’s lovely! What a start! Sugared cherry, strawberry, polished oak, cinnamon, touch of menthol, little bit of oats, mint chocolate! Bit of dunnage in there. Very nice. They make such defined whisky dont they, that make any sense? who knows, its good though.
Coldorak: Medium alcohol hit then spices kick in as well as a huge initial caramel. With water, the palate gets dryer, more pepperish, with peaches and again that caramel. The oak seems quite charred.
Ainulindale: Stone fruits quite directly, apricot and peach with some good acidity. Quite thin but the fruit is strong in this one. It’s layered over vanilla and oak mixed with yes, dunnage / pleasant mustiness. Tingly at the end, and a bit salty and chocolatey. I keep having this peachy taste in the mouth you have at the beginning of peach season when they’re not yet that ripe and sweet. Water tones down the fruit at the beginning to me, I prefer it without, it brings out the oak a lot more.
Alistair: A thread of smoke on the leading edge that wasn’t apparent on the nose, roasted pear, sandalwood and a lingering finish of dark coloured wine gums. I thought a little peat at first but it didn’t bear out.
Brian: It’s like licking an oak table on which someone has dropped an ice cream. Big ABV hit, loads of vanilla notes and very drying. This one has to be “Woody & Vanillic”. After a few more sips there’s a little fruit – the peaches from the nose a little pear then the spice kicks ins – lovely!
John: The wood is pretty evident on the palate too, a very elegant arrival, soft on the palate but a good texture, wood spices building in the finish.
Paul: Bit of wood spice there, anyone doing water? Il save a bit and do science after. Layered is a good word. All the flavours are there and defined. There isn’t many blurred lines with them as you can get with Scotch.
Coldorak: Long on bitter caramel, oakiness and pepper. With water, the finish is maybe a bit more pepperish.
Ainulindalë: No finish notes.
Alistair: Hell of a finish isn’t it, lingers like morning mist.
Brian: Long peppery finish, maybe a hint of smoke, very drying.
John: Very wood-forward this dram, doesn’t mean I’m not enjoying it though… the oak is the big wooden thread all the way through this one… start to lingering finish!
Paul: No finish notes.
Guesses after this first dram:
Coldorak: Woody & Vanillic
Ainulindalë: I’d say woody & vanillic yet I find it salty-ish with indeed some sort of smokiness… hard to say
Alistair: I think 1 is @NikkaWhiskyEU #Yoichi Woody and Vanillic.
Brian: Woody & Vanillic for me
John: (replying to Brian): Aye, sounds about right to me too!
Paul: I got a lot of sherry type notes from that, but I’m really not sure on it. I’ll reserve judgement. Maybe it was the fruitiness…. I’m already so confused. Love doing blind stuff!