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Whisky Reviews

Yoichi 1990's, 55% ABV



This is a vatting of Yoichi single malt from 1990 to 1999 and bottled around 2014/15. This means 16 to 25 year-old Yoichi went into this and bottled at a robust 55% ABV. Which means crazy money in today's market. An open bottle with about 6oz of this left came into my possession at a price I couldn't refuse from a collector.

Nose: Gorgeous sherrying, distinctly brighter, less dirty and less intense than the "Yoichi 1980's" sister bottling that contained 26-35yo Yoichi. Root beer, olive oil drizzled on rosemary focaccia, sous vide chicken breast basted in brown butter, poached egg, mirin, black liquorice, hint of sour plum, slight salinity and sweetness calling to mind fishcakes in oden soup.

Palate: Excellent alcohol integration, just a step down from the 1980's as it is drying on the palate, which could be partly down to the higher proof. Slightly viscous. Dark herbal syrups with liquorice root and monkfruit but again, thinner than its older sibling. Amaro; soursop; sweet and spicy roasted macadamias; grilled watermelon with BBQ sauce; pomegranates.

Finish: Dark purple moondrop grapes, chestnut and soursop, as well as some cedar. Hints of genmaicha, as well as prunes and date syrup that finally evolve to an indelible pleasant tart-sweet dryness that reminds me of apple vinegar and heather honey.

Score: 93.

I will say this has a more approachable profile than the 1980's I scored 94 particularly with the fruity and gourmand notes. However, this is a bit too drying on the palate for utter perfection. It is also slightly less complex and thinner in its presentation of the dark earthy notes than the Yoichi 1980's. The older whisky felt like it had a polarising filter on it that muted top notes in return for more granular complexity in the darker notes. Ultimately the older sibling is a more challenging pour but peaks higher. On most days I want a more accessible greatness.