Nikka is a powerhouse of the whisky world, constantly innovating and tweaking how it approaches whisky production. Much of the magic happens at the brand’s Yoichi distillery, which has been pumping out acqua vita since 1936, embodying the virtues of Nikka founder Masataka Taketsuru.
So, it’ll come as no surprise that some of Nikka’s greatest concoctions are produced at Yoichi and one of the distillery’s finest offerings is the Yoichi Nikka Yoichi single malt that doesn’t come with any age statement.
This whisky was born out of necessity as much as it was to create a new product. In 2015, Nikka had experienced a huge surge in sales and this left the company with a massive shortage of stock. To conserve what was left, Nikka blended single malts from different years and launched the whisky in 2016.
A story of rebirth
I’m a big believer in the idea that a drink can have resonance, particularly when it’s matched with a certain feeling or environment. This was the case for me when I tried the Yoichi Nikka single malt for the first time and reflected on everything that has been going on in 2020. I also happened to be in a bar that I hadn’t tried before called Science + Industry in Manchester.
It felt damn good to be sitting in a bar again, to not be locked up at home, to be around people, to truly enjoy sipping great whisky in a normal place. It felt like a transformative moment, much as the whisky had been transformed from different single malts into something new. That thought process had resonance.
I don’t know if a whisky can taste like hope, but that’s the sensation that it brought out in me in the first few sips.
What does hope taste like? It’s punchy, raw and pleasant. A light burn creeps in, spreading out into currents of wood chips, peach and bacon. Hope tastes like yorkshire pudding, a strong, dry feeling that hangs around in the mouth and lets you know that it’s not going anywhere.
All hamminess aside, the 2016 Yoichi Nikka single malt is a solid, sessionable whisky with a refined character. It’s well worth adding to a bottle collection and stands out as one of the most memorable whiskies I’ve had in a long time.