I`ve lusted after this one on shop shelves but she hasn`t seen fit to entertain me. Not to worry though, Serge has got in there with the 2006 bottling.
Nikka has been releasing these 20 year old "vintage" bottles of specific years' single malts annually, according to Nonjatta contributor Bert Vuik (a man who knows a lot about his Japanese whisky). The 2005 bottling was Yoichi 1985 and 2004 brought the Yoichi 1984 . The "vintages" are usually released in limited editions of 500 bottles in December, although the 1986 version was actually released twice: 500 bottles in December 2006 and a further 430 bottles in May 2007 because of very strong demand after it won the Best Japanese Malt at the "World Whiskies Awards". The May bottling had a small award icon added to the label.
Anyway, back to the whisky!
Review by Nonjatta contributor - Serge Valentin
Visit Serge`s website, the definitive Whiskyfun.com.
"Nikka Yoichi Vintage 20 yo 1986/2006 (55%, OB) This one is a blend of two types of malts, one lightly peated, the other one heavily peated.
Colour: Full gold.
Nose: Rather similar in style to the single malt "Hokkaido" 12 yo, I must say, except for more oak and vanilla plus a bigger waxiness. Other than that it’s all on wood smoke, ashes, fresh putty, quite some varnish (new oak or first fill in the vatting it seems). More ‘modern’, oakier than the old 12yo and probably a little less complex.
Mouth: Modern style indeed, with the wood to the front. Vanilla, ginger, strong tea, liquorice sticks... Rather huge bitterness (very strong green tea). The oak almost masks the peat on the palate. Slightly sourish fruitiness in the background, a tad offbeat (kirsch).
Finish: Very long but still very ‘new-oaky’, with this varnishy aftertaste. It’s not that it’s bad at all but I’m too much into such heavy wood treatments I must say. Water works quite well, revealing the peat a little further but the heavy oak is still there. 78 points." (Serge`s scoring system is explained on this page.)
55 per cent (abv)
700 ml - 21,000 yen