Nikka – Taketsuru Pure Malt

IMG_4512They say that when you fall off a bike, it is important to quickly get back on again. I recently fell off the Japanese Whisky bike. By this I mean that after loving most if not all of the whisky I had had from Japan, I have been unimpressed by the last two. Hakushu Distillers Reserve had disappointed me, by not living up to its age statemented big brother and the Miyagiko NAS had also, in my humble opinion, been fairly dull too. So when in Wadebridge Wines, I spotted this mini dram, I just had to give it a go.

Nikka whisky comes mainly from two distilleries, Yoichi, which is near Sapporo and Miyagikyo, near Sendai. Due to the differing locations and whisky terroir, they are able to produce very different types of spirit, which Nikka use to create differing interesting whiskies.

Unlike Scottish Blends, most Japanese Blends come from a single producer. One such blend, is the Non Age Statemented Taketsuru Pure Malt, which is named to celebrate the father of Japanese whisky, Masataka Taketsura. This is our dram for review today.

Price: £40-50 (If you can get hold of it…)

Appearance: Gold, like pound coins, or rich Golden Syrup.

Aroma: Strong Sherry Notes, matched by honey and some charred barrel spicing.

Taste: Initially very smooth, almost deceptively so. This smoothness is long lasting, the liquid is sweet and syrupy by nature. There are to me notes of toffee apples, which are round, fun and robust. This sweetness lasts almost for the whole of the liquids journey to the back of the mouth.

When at last the flavour wave breaks back toward the tongue, there are golden spices, which are woody but never jarring. They remain sweet and lush and there is a real sweetness of stewed apple. I imagine if you cooked an apple crumble in a wood fired oven, you might get close to recreating the kinds of flavour that are present in this liquid.

The finish is spicy on the outside of the tongue, where there is pepper, aniseed and oddly a note that reminds me of that glorious smell that you get from old leather bound books.

Mouthfeel: Sweet, smooth and yet there is spice and dynamism too.

Overall: This is a whisky that almost tastes of class. It drinks like a cask strength, but has the subtlety of a blended dram. There is smoke, fruit and sweetness. There is a distinct sherriedness, but also a spice of oak. This whisky has for now restored my joy and desire to drink Japanese whisky. If you haven’t ever ventured this far east in your drinking, then I would encourage you that if you get the chance, then you definitely should.

Real Dram Factor: 7.6

More Information:

Purchased: Wadebridge Wines

Buy Online: Nikka Taketsuru Non Age 70cl

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