Yoichi is one of two distilleries owned by Nikka. I’ve previously tried their Pure Malt Red, which is primarily taken from the other distillery, Miyagikyo.
Here we have their 20 Year Old, the oldest single malt expression regularly produced. It’s a deep rich amber in colour, looking almost like a dessert wine.
The nose is sweet; lots of raisin-like fruit, along with some wood and lots of alcohol – it’s bottled at 52%. With water, the sweetness is reduced but still plenty of fruit, and a little of the grain comes through – something I wouldn’t have expected considering the age.
Taking a taste, the first thing that hits you is the sweetness. Despite the alcohol burn, it’s wonderfully, deliciously smooth. Those rich raisin fruits slowly come through, giving you an almost syrup-like feel. Water cuts back that alcohol a little, but it’s still a big part of the dram. It holds on to that wonderful, sweet honey smoothness although once again, there’s just a hint of the grain coming though at the back of your throat.
It’s a better dram without water, because although the alcohol is a little overwhelming the grain is more understated. Either way, it’s sweet, smooth and rich.