In 1918, a young Japanese man with an ambition to make genuine Whiskey went alone to Scotland to unveil the secret of Whiskey making. He is Masataka Taketsuru, the founder of Nikka Whiskey.Given the chance to go to Scotland, Masataka became the first Japanese ever to master how to make Whiskey. He enrolled at the University of Glasgow, took chemistry courses and then apprenticed at three Scotch distilleries. The young and passionate man was fortunate to learn first-hand from craftsmen and have practical trainings to master blending. The two notebooks filled with every detail later became Japan's very first guide in Whiskey production.In 1920 Masataka returned to Japan with his Scottish wife Jessie Roberta (Rita). The two had married earlier that year and Rita decided to immigrate to Japan to support her husband's dream. However after returning to Japan, Masataka and Rita were heartbroken to find out that Settsu Shuzo, the company which invested in Masataka to learn in Scotland, had to abandon its plan to produce genuine Whiskey in Japan due to recessions after World War I.In the meantime another company, Kotobukiya Limited (Suntory), was in search for someone who could conduct Whiskey production. Being the only Japanese who knew how to produce Whiskey at that time, Masataka was hired by Kotobukiya in 1923 to direct building the Yamazaki Distillery. There he led the project and devoted himself to producing Japan's first genuine Whiskey.After his ten year contract with Kotobukiya, Masataka decided to become independent to make his own ideal Whiskey. In 1934 he went north and built his first distillery in Yoichi, Hokkaido, a place - though inconveniently located - he had always considered to be the ideal site for him to make Whiskey. The environmental conditions of Yoichi were in many ways similar to those of Scotland with a cool climate, crisp air and appropriate humidity. The company first started producing apple products under the name of “Dai Nippon Kaju”, meaning the “Great Japanese Juice Company” while he was preparing to produce Whiskey. In 1936 the first pot still designed by Masataka and made in Japan was installed and started distillation. Finally in 1940 the first Whiskey from Nikka was launched. The brand name of this Whiskey was “NIKKA Whiskey”, short for Nippon Kaju, which later became the name of the company itself.
Yoichi Single Malt is described as bold and strong. Pleasant peaty notes and smokiness originating from the traditional direct coal-fired distillation as well as a briny hint delivered by the sea breeze during the aging process.