Review: Nikka Discovery Yoichi and Miyagikyo

Review: Nikka Discovery Yoichi and Miyagikyo

Here’s a wild new idea from Japan’s Nikka Whisky: Taking the “house styles” of its two distilleries and spinning them around. The new “Nikka Discovery” series will release “distinctive limited editions” over the next three years, in anticipation of Nikka’s 90th anniversary in 2024. “Each year will focus on a different component of the whisky-making process that Nikka has practiced since 1934, offering an inside look at the various experiments within Nikka’s two distilleries.”

As for what’s up first, some details:

Designed to overturn the preconceived images of each single malt, these rare versions of Yoichi and Miyagikyo single malts are the first look showcase of “Nikka Discovery” and highlight the distillery’s diverse ingredients. Single Malt Yoichi Non-Peated (47% ABV) is comprised solely of unpeated malts as opposed to the preconceived “peaty” image of Yoichi. The result is a delicate balance of bright fruitiness and rich mouthfeel, along with its distinctive smokiness generated by coal-fired distillation. On the contrary, Single Malt Miyagikyo Peated (48% ABV) is crafted solely from batches of peated malts, which offers a significant distinction from the “light and fruity” image of Miyagikyo. This expression showcases the exquisite combination of distinctive peaty notes and boldness, leaving its signature estery hint in the aftertaste.

“We are so pleased to introduce these unique expressions from our emblematic Yoichi and Miyagikyo single malts.” says Emiko Kaji, Nikka Whisky International Business Development Manager. “It is an exciting process, like treasure hunting, to try various whisky batches from our vast reserve guided by Nikka blenders, and to create products that embody the “Discovery” concept. The release of Nikka Discovery limited editions 2021 is the initial step to further showcase the depth of Nikka’s whisky-making developed over the years, and our attempt to keep progressing and share more excitement with our valued customers around the world.”

We received both the Yoichi and Miyagikyo releases for review. Thoughts follow.

Nikka Discovery Yoichi Single Malt Non-Peated – “Comprised solely of unpeated malts as opposed to the preconceived ‘peaty’ image of Yoichi.” Try as you might you can’t scrub all the smoke out of Yoichi, which here presents as fruity and effusive — but touched just so on the nose with a hint of briny peat. The palate sees a lovely creaminess working in service of elements of almond butter, baked apples, and fresh bread, the finish eventually winding its way into elements of spice box and some fresh cigar wrapper, before a lemony freshness cleans everything up tidily. It’s a beautiful collection of flavors, demonstrating clearly and beautifully what Yoichi can do without smoke in its arsenal. 94 proof. A-

Nikka Discovery Miyagikyo Single Malt Peated – “Crafted solely from batches of peated malts, which offers a significant distinction from the ‘light and fruity’ image of Miyagikyo.” Miyagikyo with peat initially seems a bit more straightforward than expected, the peat washing out most of the delicate character inherent in this malt, at least on the nose. That said, there is still plenty to love here, and as you spend time with the whisky it really wins you over. The bold fruit of the whisky ultimately powers through what turns out to be a fairly mild level of peat on the palate. Chewy and rounded, here we find a flavorful showcase of nougat, almonds, stone fruit, and citrus peel, all swirled up with notes of smoky, ashy beach bonfire. The finish evokes peaches touched with red pepper, again with a light layer of peat wafting over it. Unusual, but exciting in the end. 96 proof. A-

each $275 /

Nikka Discovery Yoichi Single Malt Non-Peated




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