Yoichi 15

Yoichi 15This Yoichi 15 (now in the US, albeit not at a friendly price) is a bottle that I plan to follow over its life on the blog. This first review is from a freshly opened bottle (the very first pour, in fact). I will follow up after the bottle’s been open for some time and drunk down a bit, then at the halfway point, and then a couple more times before the end. I expect it will take me more than a year to finish the bottle. If changes are not significant I will merely add notes in the comments to this review. If a full review seems warranted I will post one. In such a case the new review(s) should not be viewed as a correction or replacement of this one but merely as another iteration.

Yoichi 15 (45%; from my own bottle)

Nose: Starts out with salt and some minerally, very slightly gunpowdery smoke. Some polished wood below that with salted nuts and sweeter notes (plum sauce, apricots). After a bit there’s a peppery, olive oily note as well but as it sits it becomes all about the fruit, with citrus (orange) joining the party late.

Palate: Very much as promised by the nose but as I swallow the fruit intensifies and there’s a sudden burst of smoke. The mouthfeel is just a little thinner than I would like. Not much wood here. On subsequent sips there’s more sherry character: the apricot expands and there’s a greater nuttiness and savoury gunpowder and some leather. With more time there’s quite a lot of dried tangerine peel.

Finish: Long. The sweeter fruit and smoke linger for quite some time, joined later by the citrus.

Comments: This is really rather nice and may even be worth the steep asking price in the US (close to $100 in most markets). It’s reminiscent in some ways of the Springbank 15 but there’s more fruit here. The nose is very elegant; with a little more texture on the palate this could push closer to 90 points. I’m interested to see how the bottle develops.

Rating: 87 points.

4 thoughts on “Yoichi 15

  1. I’m a big fan of this whisky, especially the nose. Looking forward to the updates on it. It’s almost worth a $100 price tag, except it’s up to $110-$130 out here in CA. According to winesearcher it’s selling for $90 in NJ, why are they so lucky?

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  2. My bottle is close to finish and it is as lovely as ever — a very well balanced dram with not many weaknesses. I purchased my bottle of Yoichi 15 just prior to my visit to Japan a couple of years ago in order to see if a visit to Yoichi was worth it… After one drink, there was no way I was visiting Hokkaido and not take a quick train ride to Yoichi!

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  3. I really like this too, though have not had it for a while and never actually bought a bottle. It was probably the first really good Japanese whisky I tasted. There have been plenty since but I remember this fondly. It’s about $170 AUD here, so actually not too far removed from some of the prices Michael is quoting.

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  4. One of my top Japanese drams. I love this stuff. That said, when the price topped the century mark I stopped buying it. I’ve still got a few I’ll savor in future years. Just a value thing with me. I miss the old days when no one knew how good Japanese whisky is.

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