Yoichi 12, “Peaty and Salty”


Peat week continues. Yesterday I had Batch 010 of the Laphroaig 10 CS. Today’s malt is 2 years older but was never as easily to hand as any iteration of Laphroaig 10 CS. I could be wrong but I believe this was only ever available at the Yoichi distillery; and as that’s on Hokkaido you’d have to be very dedicated to get to it. I have never been to Japan (except in transit), leave alone to Hokkaido and I did not get this at auction either (which is probably the only other place to find it now). I got it via a sample swap some years ago with a fellow whisky geek who had indeed made the journey to Hokkaido. I believe this and a number of others were made available at the distillery as so-called “key malts”, components that went into Nikka’s signature blends—others included “Sherry & Sweet” and “Woody & Vanilla”. I’ve reviewed a number of the other hard-to-get Yoichis I acquired in that sample swap but somehow forgot all about this one. I took the sample with me to Lake Superior earlier this month. I’d hoped to drink it on the rocks by the lake but the mosquitoes made short work of that fantasy. I drank it inside the cabin instead, looking at the lake through a window. Please construct your own metapor.

Yoichi 12, “Peaty and Salty” (55%; from a sample from a fellow whisky geek)

Nose: Make that “Very Salty and a Little Peaty”: this is a full-on maritime malt with a little peppery peat around the edges; some savoury gunpowder as well. As it sits sweeter notes of malt and toffee emerge. With water there’s some putty and the sweet and peat merge.

Palate: Much peatier on the palate than expected with ashy smoke; the savoury gunpowder is along for the ride. Oily, mouth-coating texture. The salt comes out strong on the second sip. Sweeter as it sits here too. Water brings everything together on the palate as well.

Finish: Long. The salt is the top note here again but the peat is present around the edges as well. As on the nose and palate with water.

Comments: Blind, I would have said Springbank from refill sherry casks. That’s a big compliment. Though as I look back at my notes for the Yoichi 15 there are clear and strong family resemblances. That makes me all the happier that I socked two bottles of that away before the price surged and then it all disappeared.

Rating: 88 points.

Thanks to Gimmeadram for the sample!

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