Coal fired stills in Japan, Flavor - smoke or?

  • Mathis
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    Member Mathis
    Joined: 26.10.2016Posts: 105Ratings: 33
    Hi guys, I'm new here - so Hi everyone hope you are well and enjoying great whisky. Im quite a novice in terms of whisky and I have a question for you that i wonder about.

    So the Nikka Yoichi 10 Years Old is made with direct coal-fired pot stills. On the label it is said that this leaves the whisky with a smokey flavor.

    My question is the following- Can the smokey flavor in this whisky come solely from the coal-fired stills, or must peat be used in the process? I emailed Nikka, got no answer as their sales department answered the mail.

    Might be a stupid question, however I hope someone can help. Stay healthy.
  • [Deleted User] Joined: 26.08.2016Posts: 0CollectionEmpty Bottle ClubRatings: 160
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    Mathis said:
    Hi guys, I'm new here - so Hi everyone hope you are well and enjoying great whisky. Im quite a novice in terms of whisky and I have a question for you that i wonder about.

    So the Nikka Yoichi 10 Years Old is made with direct coal-fired pot stills. On the label it is said that this leaves the whisky with a smokey flavor.

    My question is the following- Can the smokey flavor in this whisky come solely from the coal-fired stills, or must peat be used in the process? I emailed Nikka, got no answer as their sales department answered the mail.

    Might be a stupid question, however I hope someone can help. Stay healthy.

    The method of heating the stills won't impart any smokiness to the whisky. This is done strictly through drying the green malt over a peat fire (or other source of aromatic smoke). Yoichi does use peated malt, so that is the source of the smokiness in their whiskies.
    Clear alcohols are for rich women on diets. (Ron Swanson)
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  • SlàinteMhath Member SlàinteMhath Joined: 09.10.2016Posts: 134CollectionOslo Whisky ClubRatings: 148
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    Carlton's explanation is spot-on! I have visited Nikka Yoichi distillery this summer and can share a picture of the coal-fired pot stills.

    Slàinte!

    That's what I do. I drink, and I know things.” (Tyrion Lannister)

    >>> Whisky reviews by Slàinte Mhath <<<

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  • [Deleted User] Joined: 26.08.2016Posts: 0CollectionEmpty Bottle ClubRatings: 160
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      SlàinteMhath said:
    Carlton's explanation is spot-on! I have visited Nikka Yoichi distillery this summer and can share a picture of the coal-fired pot stills.

    Slàinte!


    Great photo. Too bad there were no age-stated Yoichi bottlings to be had while you were there. I recently finished a bottle of the 15 year old, and it was wonderful. I will probably never see another one.
    Clear alcohols are for rich women on diets. (Ron Swanson)
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  • Mathis
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    @Carlton and @SlàinteMhath Oh wow guys, thanks for the awesome reply and the photo! The reason behind the question is this quote which is printed on my Gift box of the 10year old. 

    "At Yoichi, the small pot still are still heated by a coal fire (...) The very strong direct heat slightly burns the contens at the bottom of the pot still, giving the whiskies a powerful, smoky character".

    If anything, it might be so little that you are not able to taste it. Peated malt was used in the process of making this whisky im sure. Just wanted to know :smile: 

    Thanks again. 
  • [Deleted User] Joined: 26.08.2016Posts: 0CollectionEmpty Bottle ClubRatings: 160
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    Mathis said:
    @Carlton and @SlàinteMhath Oh wow guys, thanks for the awesome reply and the photo! The reason behind the question is this quote which is printed on my Gift box of the 10year old. 

    "At Yoichi, the small pot still are still heated by a coal fire (...) The very strong direct heat slightly burns the contens at the bottom of the pot still, giving the whiskies a powerful, smoky character".

    If anything, it might be so little that you are not able to taste it. Peated malt was used in the process of making this whisky im sure. Just wanted to know :smile: 

    Thanks again. 
    That is interesting. The few holdouts in Scotland that continue to direct fire their stills claim that it does make a difference in the taste, but I have never heard a distillery claim that it imparts a smoky character.
    Clear alcohols are for rich women on diets. (Ron Swanson)
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  • Mathis
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    @Carlton Interesting right? On their website this is also written.

    "Yoichi single malt has 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" 

    Thats why I made the post! I have never seen any other distillery claim this either. 

  • SlàinteMhath Member SlàinteMhath Joined: 09.10.2016Posts: 134CollectionOslo Whisky ClubRatings: 148
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    Mathis said:
    @Carlton Interesting right? On their website this is also written.

    "Yoichi single malt has 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" 

    Thats why I made the post! I have never seen any other distillery claim this either. 

    Most of the time, this is just stupid marketing funnel by people who know nothing about whisky production...

    Check out Horst Lüning's tasting video on BenRiach 10 Curiositas. This illustrates perfectly, how marketing people will write *anything* on a bottle as long as it promotes their business...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VEOD217j1fQ

    Cheers!

    That's what I do. I drink, and I know things.” (Tyrion Lannister)

    >>> Whisky reviews by Slàinte Mhath <<<

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  • SlàinteMhath Member SlàinteMhath Joined: 09.10.2016Posts: 134CollectionOslo Whisky ClubRatings: 148
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    I forgot that the English version might be more useful for you:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gx7nhSSrE8o

    Slàinte!

    That's what I do. I drink, and I know things.” (Tyrion Lannister)

    >>> Whisky reviews by Slàinte Mhath <<<

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  • Mathis
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    @SlàinteMhath Arrh thought so.. :banghead: Makes perfect sense to me! Thanks a lot for the link as well! 
  • [Deleted User] Joined: 26.08.2016Posts: 0CollectionEmpty Bottle ClubRatings: 160
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    @Mathis I think this could also simply be a case of poor wording on the part of some marketeer or a case of bad translation. It's not the first time that Japanese whisky advertising has left me in doubt as to what they really meant to say.
    Clear alcohols are for rich women on diets. (Ron Swanson)
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