Yoichi and Me

I’ve been chatting with some fellow Japanese whisky enthusiasts of late and realized, well confirmed, how under represented the Yoichi distillery is on these pages. This is not a reflection of a dislike of Yoichi’s product. On the contrary, I rate Yoichi’s standard product, No Age Statement through to 20 year, the best of the Japanese Distilleries. In fact, I would put Yoichi’s ‘standard’ range up against any distillery from anywhere in the world for both quality and consistency.

So, why not more tasting notes on The Japanese Whisky Review for Yoichi? Well, over the years I will buy many different batches of the ‘standards’, at least the NAS, 10, 12 and 15 year olds all of which I can afford(the 20 being double the cost of the 15 in Japan). But, the single cask stuff from Yoichi is, for a similar age, mostly more expensive than the other Japanese distilleries bar Karuizawa. As someone who purchases 99.9% of the whisky’s reviewed on this website, cost is just as much of a consideration as it is for 99.9% of the readers. Here’s an example. The oldest version of latest the Ichiro’s Card series is 22 years old and costs about 13500 Yen in Japan. A Yoichi of similar age is around 19000 Yen in Japan. Sometimes this is hard to justify and as a man of limited means and an observant partner, it’s more often than not about the means and the justification.

Above and beyond that, I will be posting some new notes on Yoichi whisky soon. Also, I will be adding some more personal reflections on the other major Japanese whisky distilleries in the near future.

8 thoughts on “Yoichi and Me

  1. Looking forward to the Yoichi run. I like the “personal reflections” theme. Speaking of Yoichi, there is a real good batch of the NAS out right now, well a few months ago a new batch/supply hit the supermarkets. Best I’ve had to date. Of course not major changes but enough to distinguish a difference.

  2. It is funny that you should be mentioning this, Brian. Living in Switzerland I have observed that the decent whisky shops stock both Suntory and Nikka whisky, with the Yoichi 10yo and 12yo usually being among the expressions available. But virtually everybody I ever spoke to about Japanese whisky talks only about Yamazaki and Hakushu. Nobody ever mentions Yoichi. I wonder why? So, the more coverage we can get on Yoichi the better. Looking forward to your posts.

    • Hi Pierre,
      I remember the first time I tried Japanese whisky. Hardly new a thing about them and went for the 6 glass tasting set at Zoetrope bar Tokyo. There was Hakushu 12, Yamazaki 12, Miyagikyo 12 a single grain from Suntory a coffey malt from Nikka and Yoichi 12. It was the Yoichi on first tasting that blew me away and started my love affair with Japanese whisky.

  3. Brian – I agree with you on the quality of Yoichi and unfortunately also on its relatively higher pricing. We also do not see as many different expressions coming out of Yoichi like we see from Yamazaki for example but I like that Yoichi keeps it simple and straight forward

    • Maybe you can shed some light Chris but I’m still not sure as to why the full standard range of Yoichi is not available in the States? I mean, if they can sell the 15 why not the NAS, 10, 12(which we both respect) and possibly the 20? The fires are lit in the US so I hope Yoichi(and the other distilleries), reach out and capitalize before interest wanes. Patience is a virtue but it must be rewarded.

      • Brian,
        A bit of speculation on my part but I think they are taking their time to establish the brand first. Suntory did the same by slowly releasing their expressions. It is also important to recognize the utter pain in the ass it can be to get each expression approved over here. It is not as simple as shipping over what they have in Japan. Among other hoops that have to be jumped through they have to change bottles to 750ml and re-label (getting label approval can be huge pain) – so the cost of each additional expression can be significant.

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