Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Nikka Whisky from the barrel


Distillery: Blend
Bottling: Nikka
Age: NAS
Bottled: Unknown
Strength: 51.4%
Cask: Mixture of ex-bourbon barrels.

My first exploration into Japanese comes in the form of a blend, and that's right I said the b word. What captured my attention was the strength of 51.4%. What lets most blends down for me, and the reason I don't drink them is the low strength which just makes them too watered down. I have nothing against grain, having tasted some very excellent and very delicious single grains (unfortunately not counting the 20 year old Port Dundas I tried a few months ago). The reviews of Nikka Whisky from the barrel have also all been very positive.

This release is a combination of both malt and grain Whisky from the Yoichi & Miyagikyo distilleries, from a combination of different ex-bourbon casks, married together into a final cask before being bottled. As far as I am aware this is small batch releases and have been told each batch should theoretically be slightly different. I do not know how much truth is in this, and the Japanese being so delicate and good at this I see no reason a master blender could not achieve a consistent taste across batches. If anyone knows please let me know. Now onto the tasting itself.

Nose: Straight out the bottle I get grain on the nose; almost vodka like. After I take time to pass through the grain a floral bouquet opens up, but with the grain alcohol is something almost slightly perfumed, but not in any offensive way. I let this sit for a while and approached it again and was immediately rewarded with much less grain on the nose, and a rich sweetness had opened up. Toffee Butterkist popcorn, creamy fudge, and creamy banana milkshake. Sweet spice like some of my wife's "Yankee Candles".

Palate: Smooth and rounded, with a little pepper. Bananas. Pear Cider. Kinder Milk Chocolate specifically topped with a draw from a Menthol cigarette giving a menthol heat rather than mint.

Finish: Medium finish if held in the mouth a little with some spices and slightly drying. If swallowed quicker and less diluted the finish is a lot longer and minty.

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