On Monday I reviewed the (now discontinued) Yoichi 20, which used to be part of the distillery’s core range. Here now is another Yoichi 20, this a so-called Genshu single cask, a series that, as I understand its, used to be/is only available at the distillery and at select bars in Japan. I’ve previously reviewed a 10 yo single cask, and also a 15 yo, in this series and have a sample of a 5 yo waiting in the wings as well. Well, let’s see how this one compares to the regular 20 yo.
Yoichi 20, Genshu Single Cask 100126 (60%; from a sample received in a swap)
Nose: Quite a bit peatier than the regular 20 yo: phenolic notes waft up through the sherry. The sherry is much richer and fruiter too (apricot, orange peel); some leather and brine and cured ham below that along with some pencil lead and just a hint of savoury gunpowder. Far less oak than in the other. After a couple of minutes there’s some toffee and a bit of maple syrup. Water knocks back the smoke and pulls out more toffee and fruit (some plum now with the apricot); some slightly dusty oak too now. Not much change with the added drops of water.
Palate: Quite a salty arrival; the fruit’s all here too and there’s some ashy smoke. There’s more oak here than on the nose but unlike in the regular 20 yo it’s not particularly assertive and certainly not sharp. Spicier on the second sip with cinnamon and the citrus is brighter (more lemon than orange). Gets increasingly earthy and leathery as it goes and smokier/ashier with each sip. Hot but quite drinkable neat. I’ll add some water anyway after a couple more sips. With water it’s all about the spice (more pepper than cinnamon now) and citrus. Okay, I’ll add a couple more drops. Ah yes, with a couple more drops the spicy wood gets pushed back further and now the fruit is center stage.
Finish: Long. Spicy and peppery and salty; and the smoke becomes more apparent still. At the very end the sherry separates a touch. Less salty and more peppery with water; the smoke comes back at the end. With the extra drops of water the salt comes back again and the final impression is brine and the cured ham I’d first got on the nose.
Comments: Now this one I thought was great. Again, blind, I’d be apt to pick this as a Highland Park. Which is praise in my book: though these days some people might say the compliment is to Highland Park. Anyway, excellent stuff with great balance between sherry, peat and oak. Wish I had a bottle.
Rating: 90 points.
Thanks to Gimmeadram for the sample!