In 2015, Nikka declared that due to the depletion of their aged stocks, the renowned Nikka’s peated single malt aged versions, namely the Yoichi 10, 12, 15, and 20-year-old, would no longer be available. They were then substituted with a non-age statement version referred to as simply ‘Yoichi single malt’ (we reviewed it here). However, Nikka made an announcement last year that the Yoichi 10-year-old would be making a comeback. It was scheduled to be released at the distillery in July 2022, and globally in Japan in November. As a result, we can now try out the new Yoichi 10-year-old 2022 and compare it with the 12-year-old, which was last bottled in 2015. Unfortunately, I do not possess the old 10 to make a more in-depth comparison.
Yoichi 10-Year-Old (2022) Review
Initially launched in Hokkaido in July 2022, the newly introduced Yoichi 10-year-old single malt is bottled at 45% ABV. Unfortunately, it undergoes chill filtration and has added E150 caramel for coloration. Although the types of casks used are not disclosed, one can anticipate ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks, along with other cask types. In Japan, the suggested retail price (RRP) of ¥8,800 (approximately €63/£53) is very reasonable. However, due to the greed of some importers, the prices in Europe and the UK are at least 2.5 times higher.
Neat: The nose of this whisky offers a moderate intensity. It is notably malty, accompanied by gentle fruity aromas of citrus, peach, and hints of apricot and tropical fruits. There are also delicate traces of wood, reminiscent of sandalwood and cedar. In the background, there are faint whispers of a far-off smoke.
Neat: This Yoichi 10 has a slightly thin mouthfeel. The initial taste is notably bitter and dominated by a strong woody flavour that intensifies after a few seconds. Along with this, there are distinct notes of coal smoke and hints of citrus. The taste of raw barley is also present, along with the taste of cracked black pepper and white asparagus. A fleeting sweetness briefly appears upon a second sip but quickly dissipates, giving way to more notes of pepper, sandalwood, and a touch of chili pepper.
Persistent presence of wood and raw malt flavours accompanied by the spicy notes of cracked pepper. The finish is medium in length, leaving a warm sensation that lingers for a while.
In the past, I had a great fondness for the Yoichi range, especially when it was readily accessible and reasonably priced. Regrettably, this latest release does not match the quality of its predecessor, at least as far as my memory serves. Moreover, I find the exorbitant price charged by avaricious importers to be entirely unwarranted. Although I’m glad to have tasted it, I cannot help but feel that this whisky is not worth the exorbitant price tag. It’s not a terrible whisky, but I would have been gravely disappointed had I paid the asked price for it.
Yoichi 12-Year-Old (2015) Review
There is a lack of information regarding the old age statement Yoichis, including the 12-year-old variety, which was also subjected to batch colouring for consistency, but not chill filtration. Currently, the 12-year-old version is only available through the secondary market, with prices that are excessively inflated.
Neat: The nose reveals a subtle smokiness, accompanied by the aroma of apple and pear peels. There are also delightful hints of French toast, lemon zest, and barley sugar, adding a sweet and tangy dimension to the scent. A faint whiff of lavender is also discernible.
Neat: The old 12-year-old has an oily and coating mouthfeel, which contributes to its overall richness. The palate is distinctly smoky, more so than the new 10-year-old edition. There are also noticeable wood flavours, along with a citrusy taste and hints of sliced candied ginger. Towards the end of the palate, a slightly dry peach flavour emerges, along with subtle notes of celery.
The finish is long, with the prominent flavours of wood and smoke continuing to linger on the palate. A touch of salt and pepper is also present, contributing to a slightly savoury aftertaste. Towards the end, there is a subtle hint of incense.
Compared to my distant memory, the Yoichi 12-year-old seems to have less fruity notes. However, it’s worth noting that when I used to drink this, my palate was far from experienced (and it still isn’t as trained as I would like it to be). So it’s possible that my memory of the Yoichi’s fruity notes may be somewhat hazy or inaccurate. Nevertheless, I still think that this is a delightful drink, particularly when enjoyed at its original recommended retail price. However, it’s not worth the exorbitant prices that it now fetches at auctions.
But Don’t Trust Our Word For It…
First, I encourage you to go watch Mac ‘Kanpai Planet’ video comparing the Yoichi NAS, old 10 and new 10. And Matt ‘The Dramble’ McKay reviewed the 12-year-old I try here. He’s also the one who provided me the sample used for this review!
Thanks Matt! Photos courtesy of WhiskyBase.