I reviewed a Japanese restaurant yesterday and will have a review of another Japanese restaurant tomorrow. Here in between, therefore, is a review of a Japanese whisky. This marks a dramatic return to my usual practice of pointless reviews (from the perspective of people looking for buying guides): not only is this Yoichi single cask no longer available, it was only ever available at the shop at the distillery—meaning you’d not only had to have gone to Japan to be able to buy it, you’d had to have gone to Hokkaido. I did neither of these things. This sample came to me through a swap, a couple of years ago, with a generous fellow whisky geek—he was also the source of the other Genshu casks I’ve reviewed: a 10 yo, a 15 yo and a 20 yo. I think these were all 500 ml bottles and that the full name of the series is “Taradeshi Genshu”. Who or what that refers to, I’m not sure, and the internet is not being of much help. If you know, please write in below.
Yoichi 5, Genshu Single Cask (60%; cask 406182; from a sample received in a swap)
Nose: A nutty, salty start with polished oak right behind. Gets biscuity as it sits but it noses quite hot (not a surprise). After a minute or so there’s some peat (earthy) and then some fruit begins to show up (plum, apricot). Water should open this up nicely. Ah yes, water emphasizes the fruit (more plum than apricot) and also pulls out some gingerbread biscuit and some cream.
Palate: Peatier from the get-go and slightly rubbery too (very slightly). Quite hot here too but drinkable despite the strength. Let’s give it some more time before adding water. With time the sweeter notes perk up here as well but it’s also much woodier now. With more time still the wood is spicier and less insistent. Okay, let’s see what water does. Water pulls out a lot of smoke here and knocks the wood back some.
Finish: Medium. Salt and wood, for the most part. Sweeter with time. With water it gets saltier and then quite smoky/ashy at the end.
Comments: This is very good for a 5 yo but shows its age quite clearly (I liked it better with water). Still, it’s testament to the quality of Yoichi’s whisky. Now to wait and see if that whisky will ever become available widely again at reasonable prices.
Rating: 85 points.
Thanks to Gimmeadram for the sample!