Saturday, 5 January 2019

500 up - something special from Japan

Well according to my geeky spreadsheet this is the 500th dram I've tried and so I've picked something a little special.

It's actually a sample swap from Stuart at @ThisIsMyDram, he picked up a bottle on a recent trip to the distillery!

The whisky is Nikka's Yoichi Peaty & Salty, a 55% NAS single malt from the Yoichi distillery in Hokkaido, Japan. This is normally a distillery exclusive release so it's unlikely you'll find it anywhere else. They've used Japanese peat to dry the barley and then matured the whisky in warehouses by the sea - what more could you want?

Masataka Taketsuru came to Scotland in 1918 to study chemistry, the following year he started working at the first of 3 distilleries - Longmorn in Speyside before moving on to Bo'ness distillery in the Lowlands and after getting married to a Scottish lass, to his final one Hazelburn in Campbeltown.

In 1920 he travelled back to Japan and began working for Kotobukiya (Suntory) at the Yamazaki distillery before leaving in 1934 to found his own distillery. It was built at Yoichi in Hokkaido because of it's similar environment to the Highlands in Scotland. The distillery is close to the sea and surrounded by mountains, it's unusual in that it still uses coal fired stills, probably the last distillery in the world which does! He named his company Nikka and the rest, as they say, is history!

Japanese whisky has become very expensive in recent years due to increased popularity and lack of stock. The last bottle I bought was a 10yo Yamazaki in 2007 for about £40 - you can buy it now for about £400...

So on to the dram:

Appearance: Dark gold colour in the glass, but probably coloured. Swirls tear-up and form slow thin legs.

Nose: It does what it says on the tin! A gorgeous combination of bonfire smoke and maritime spray, I've used this analogy for a Glen Scotia malt before - it's like walking along a beach towards a bonfire on a windy day. Love it! There's some smokey bacon notes and a hint of orchard fruit.

Palate: Unexpectedly thick, oily, tongue coating, drying. There's peat but also a wave of citrus, the pears from the nose, some cut grass and a lovely spicy ginger kick.

Finish: Long and warming, smoke dominates but also hints of citrus and spicy ginger. Very drying and leaves that maritime spray in your mouth - yummy!

Overall: A lovely complex dram, fantastic nose, palate and finish - nothing really to let it down. The oily mouthfeel was really unexpected adding to the maritime feel of the dram.

Many thanks to Stuart for the sample, you can hear all about his visit and tasting notes on his podcast here.


Andrew Martin said...

It's mad,the 1st bottle of Yamazaki 10 I bought was £18 from Tesco's.

MaltMusings said...

The world is a crazy place!