Nikka Yoichi 20yr 1988 Vintage

Japan – 55%ABV – 700ml bottle – $|£|€ ???

No matter where I look, this whisky is sold out.  And, I think I know why  (see my notes below) – here’s what the good folks over that The Whisky Exchange have to say about it:

“A follow up to the incredible Nikka 1987 vintage 20yo that won the World’s Best Single Malt at last year’s World Whiskies Awards, this 1988 is a full-strength mix of both light and heavily-peated whiskies from new oak, refill casks, bourbon barrel and sherry butts – sounds phenomenal.”

Phenomenal??  Hell yes.  A HUGE thanks to The Whisky Wall for the sample!

On the nose Oh mercy, what an amazing nose!

Very strange notes of baklavah, pipe tobacco (being smoked), kim chee and sherry.

Deep dried fruit (like a fried compote filled with plums and apricots – actually, I’m reminded of a Charoset I had a couple of years back.).

Insanely easy to nose.

A tad spicy and (like many Japanese whiskies I’ve had) some sweet top notes that remind me of bourbon.

Green tea and dark chocolate with elegant peat smoke.

On the mouth Like chewing on chocolate covered fresh tobacco leaves.

Both salty and smoky (like smoked capers).

Dried dates and papaya.  Floral potpourri.

Stewed fruits then a highlight on sweetly smoked lemons.

Finish Lasting fruit – every dried fruit imaginable, lovely & lasting.

In sum– Quite remarkable, really; nearing on ridiculous (or ludicrous) as to how good this whisky was.  The balance is remarkable and at 55%, with the nose/palate/finish combination it’s very drinkable.  Only 3500 bottles were made available and, you guessed it, not in the US.  Feck.

This is a very contemplative dram.  If you can get your hands on some of this, save it for some “YOU” time.  Sit back, enjoy the cool breeze (maybe throw a sweater on, light a fire) and think about “what it all means”.

4 thoughts on “Nikka Yoichi 20yr 1988 Vintage”

  1. Great notes! I havent even attempted to write notes on it. I am really glad that you liked it. My quest is to expose more people in the US to Japanese whisky and hopefully create a large enough demand to have Nikka distribute in the US. BTW I have a bottle of the 1989 vintage, just havent opened it yet. Hopefully soon…and the 1990 vintage should be released in November. But there is definitely no more 1988 to be had – I have searched.

  2. Cheers, just found a bottle in Tokyo and bringing it back to US for my whisky drinking buddies (and of course myself).

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