I usually stick to Scotch whisky, but now and then some interesting stuff turns up that warrants trying or even getting a bottle. My experience with Japanese whiskies before I bought this bottle was limited to a few tastes of Yamazaki at some duty free shops when they just started to push the marketing for it (around the mid 2000’s). Since then the prices of Japanese whisky shot up and I didn’t feel like it was worth my money. But then I found this little gem for a little over 30 Euros.
Nikka own two malt distilleries and several grain distilleries and are quite well known for the quality of both their malt and grain whiskies. This particular expression is a blend. It’s meant to showcase the barrel influence and it’s bottled at cask strength (or just higher ABV, the terms get mixed up quite a bit). The bottle is also quite interesting (although only a half litre), and according to Nikka’s website, was meant to represent a ‘chunk’ of whisky.
Nose: Rich , spicy oak. Woody vanilla. Cinnamon. New leather. Roasted nuts. Cafe latte, maybe a chai latte.
Palate: Rich nutty notes. More oak. Tinned fruit. More of a distinguishable pure vanilla note now. Stewed pears and apricots. Minor hint of the grain spirit bitterness showing through.
Finish: Long. Woodspice. Roasted almonds. Some lingering hints of stewed fruits and vanilla custard. Bit of a grainy after taste.
Rating: Buy this
Global VFM: 5/5
Local VFM: 4/5
This is blended whisky done right. An amazing bouquet of aromas and tastes one generally expects to find in a well aged single malt. The grain whisky used in here is evidently great quality stuff and has been aged to a properly mellow level. An excellent whisky at an excellent price.