I haven't tried this one and probably never will because, typically, the man Serge has given us a peek at a rarity for his first review. It is an old bottling, no longer on general sale, and is not to be confused with the current "Pure Malt Whisky Hokkaido 12" (6,800 yen, 43 abv), which seems to be vatted with a malt from some other distillery than Yoichi. The modern Hokkaido looks like this:
That's "Hokkaido" spelt out in Japanese script on the bottle and here it is in computer text, in case you want to search for these whiskies on the Japanese internet: 北海道 (Hokkaido), ウィスキー (whisky). (Can`t see it?)
Review by Nonjatta contributor - Serge Valentin
Visit Serge`s website, the definitive Whiskyfun.com.
"Nikka Hokkaido 12 year old (Official Bottling, 1980’s) Hokkaido is/was the same distillery as Yoichi, which is located on the Island of Hokkaido.
Colour: full gold.
Nose: Very Scottish at first nosing, whatever that means, sort of reminding me of older Glen Gariochs. Quite some peat, kumquats, Earl Grey tea (bergamots), growing smokier with time (wood and peat smoke, hot toast). It’s also slightly ashy and waxy at the same time. Perfectly balanced I must say, very appealing. Hints of raw incense (like the sticks they make in Tibet). Kind of ‘old Highlands’ style, I like it very much.
Mouth: Less Scottish I’d say. The smokiness is more subdued and we have more fruits (over ripe apples) and more liquorice. A little maltier as well. Notes of yoghurt sauce. Gets spicier with time (ginger and cloves).
Finish: Rather long, a tad bitterish now, peppery, liquoricy, resinous... But the whole is truly excellent whisky. 87 points." (Serge`s scoring system is explained on this page.)
43 per cent (abv)