The Yoichi distillery (formerly known as the Hokkaido distillery) was the first of Nikka’s distilleries, founded by the great Masataka Taketsuru back in 1934. Following his studies of whisky making techniques in Scotland, Taketsuru built his distillery in the town of Yoichi on the islands of Hokkaido, the northernmost of Japan’s main islands, as he thought it most matched the environment of Scotland. A picturesque location - the distillery is surrounded by mountains on three sides and the sea on the fourth.
The Yoichi distillery produce their full-bodied, peaty whiskies using their six stills, which are lit by coal fire - a technique that Scottish distilleries have all but stopped practising these days. Yoichi released their first single malt in 1982, and in recent years has greatly influenced the popularity of Japanese whisky around the world. At the 2008 World Whiskies Awards, a 20 year old Yoichi claimed the title of World’s Best Single Malt - an impressive feat to say the least!