Friday, June 20, 2008

Yoichi SMWS Cask No: 116.12 - "green sticks and building bricks"

The smell is quite subdued: yeasty, honeyed. Sweet milky coffee. Three distinct facets to the flavour. Chewing green sticks: astringent, bitter. Licking building bricks: a mouth full of gravel, ash, dust. And through it all, some sweetness. Oaked white wine. 

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society has put out some interesting bottlings of Japanese single malts in recent years. It specialises in single cask, single malt whiskies of approximately 230-250 bottles per cask. This 21 year old Yoichi, distilled in July 1986 and bottled this March, is uncompromising but I liked it. According to the Society's publicity, the Yoichi 1987 20 year old that won the best single malt prize at the World Whisky Awards 2008 is retailing for £120 at present. I can't confirm that but, if anything, it looks like a bit of an underestimate. This 21 year old, then, is a bargain compared to its younger sibling. I should point out, however, that the flavour is dissimilar. I have tasted the award winner (I didn't take any notes so I am holding fire on a write up for Nonjatta) and it does not offer the opportunity to lick bricks like this one.

More information

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society's own tasting notes: "Tinned Peaches and tobacco pipes. The only distillery on Japan’s northern island, Hokkaido, was built by Nikka’s founder, the legendary Masataka Taketsuru in 1934. It produces a range of styles of malt whisky for use in its blends, and this bottling is highly phenolic. The immediate scent is of tinned peaches and charcoal scattered with lavender. There is lilac blossom in the background, and traces of bath oil, so the taste at full strength – which is like chewing charcoal or licking the bowl of an old pipe – comes as something of a surprise. Water develops the fragrant theme, with floral notes, scented honey and sugar soap; slightly waxy, and only a hint of tar. This passes across into the flavour at reduced strength: a nice smooth mouthfeel, pleasant balance of sweet and vinegar-sour, and only an ash-like trace of smoke. A common descriptor for this whisky is ‘welcoming’."

54.2 per cent
Price (Junel 2008)
700 ml - £61
For further details see the Scotch Malt Whisky Society website.

Declaration: A 150 ml review sample of Cask 116.12 was sent to Nonjatta by the SMWS. Nonjatta subscribes to the Drink Bloggers` Code of Conduct, which means we try not to be influenced by such free samples.


Ivan Walsh said...


Do you know if Yoichi is distributing its whiskies to Ireland?

Despite the recent success and coverage of Japanese whiskies in the media, it's proving to be very hard to get our hands on the stuff.

I'm over in Beijing next week. Is it possible to buy Yoichi there.

Your photos are great, by the way.


Ivan Walsh

Filip L said...


In Ireland you have:

Next Step International
Ronan Gillespie

6 Highfield Lawns
North County

Tel : (00353) 862425680

It is the Nikka contributor in Ireland. If you go back a step its La Maison Du Whisky who is the official EU importer and then spread the bottles out through EU.

If they dont have any exciting Yoichi have a look at The Whisky Exchange or La Maison Du Whisky for online orders.

If i would place my bucks on an Yoichi the 20yo. is out of this world, an truly fantastic and suprising malt!

Good Luck!