“Super Nikka Whisky”

After spending time exploring the Nikka “From the Barrel” at our Whisky Ladies “Diwali Drams” evening, we compared it with a revival of an earlier incarnation of their standard “Super Nikka Whisky”.

What did our Whisky Ladies think?

Super Nikka Revival Whisky 43% (Limited Edition for Europe, 2015)

  • Nose – Candy floss, that Hallowe’en candy corn of brightly coloured kernels of yellow, orange and white tips, caramel nuttiness, a sweet almond paste, cola that has gone flat, then from somewhere an unlit charcoal, slightly musty, a hint of chocolate? A dash of pine?
  • Palate – Deceptively sweet, well rounded, light smoke to counter balance the sweet, was there a hint of sea salt too? Regardless of the different elements, they all merged together harmoniously
  • Finish – Lovely finish, cinnamon sweet though a bit abrupt – here then gone.
  • Water – Interestingly, this is the one we tried with water… it nicely reduces the sweetness, adds a dash of spice like a spice guava, making it overall even more enjoyable

And what do the folks over at Nikka have to say about Super Nikka?

One of Nikka’s classic brands, the Super Nikka was introduced to the market in 1962. Its luxuriant aroma, gentle hints of peat and scent of vanilla and chocolate are all in harmony, and its flavor is smooth, rounded and well-balanced.

Believe it or not, a fellow whisky aficionado in Mumbai has one of the original’s from the 1960s… I’m sensing we just may need to track down one of the ‘new’ avatars and do a comparison one of these days…

And the results of our “head to head”?

The Nikka Super Whisky was the most popular – for its sociable character in keeping with the mood of the evening. And yet there is no doubt the “From the Barrel” is a fine dram that demands attention.

And yes… I was caught blathering on about context being everything in choice… whisky preferences for me, at least, are highly mood, setting and company dependent. What I love in one context I may not care for in another and vis-a-versa. But that is another tale for another day…

The “Super Nikka” we sampled had recently been opened and tasted at our October 2017 Mumbai session, last seen on Master of Malt for $55 (sold out).

Whiskies sampled in our Diwali Drams evening included:

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Apple cider whisky – Akashi Red 40%

Unless you’ve been asleep in the last few years, you would know Japanese whisky has established itself on the world whisky stage as pretty premium!

However there is another kind of Japanese whisky out there… something known as ‘ji-whisky‘ i.e. smaller local spirits companies ‘micro-distilleries’ that sometimes pump out other spirits like sake and sochu, making cheaper whisky blends primarily with the Japanese consumer in mind.

Akashi is an example of such a ‘ji-whisky’ and one of the few Japanese blended whiskies available in Mumbai duty-free. Key point – it is not ‘purely’ Japanese as it uses a mix of foreign and Japanese malt and grain whiskies.

I first sampled an Akashi White Oak 40% at a house-warming party. Not having proper tasting glasses, I sipped it from a shot glass and the overwhelming impression was of a bubblegum, vanilla and honey nose, smooth creamy light fruity oak palate and an absent finish. As White Oak from Eigashima Shuzō distillery  (i.e. White Oak) is the most readily accessible of Akashi’s offerings, I assumed this would be the Akashi sampled with the Whisky Ladies a few days later.

Nope! Our Whisky Ladies seek the less common and instead our evening featured the Akashi Red which spent 2 years maturing in ex-bourbon casks and 1 year in a sherry cask. Judging from the colour, it was liberally augmented with caramel.

akashi-red-blended

Akashi Red Blended Whisky 40%

  • Nose – Varnish and vanilla, medicinal ammonia with a bit of rubbing alcohol, apple cider, sweet cinnamon, honey, grain
  • Palate – APPLES, smooth, toffee, drizzle of honey… not much else, quite a thin body, light, soft without much substance
  • Finish – Light burn, bit woody, more apple… just this time the slightly bitter apple peel
  • Water – One attempted to find a little orange peel

As soon as one lady said “This is a bit like Calvados”, she had company in that opinion!

Apple was consistent in all elements… as we gave it some time, it initially took on a more ‘malty’ quality and became even smoother (if that’s possible!)…

And then that’s when it became flat. Think apple juice. Now, I’m not averse to a good apple juice… but apple juice whisky? Hmm….

Here’s what they have to say from the bottle:

  • Nose – orange peel, ginger, honey
  • Palate – sweet cake, vanilla
  • Finish – medium, light honey finish

We were surprised at no mention of apple… for all of this,  the core fruit to this light whisky was apple, apple, apple….

But here is the thing. It isn’t expensive. Easy drinking (if you drink it quickly!). It again reminded me of something more suited to sake shots… and I wondered if the shot glass I first sampled the White Oak was perhaps just about right for the Red too?

For a bit more about whiskies from this distillery…

Related Whisky Lady posts:

Other whiskies sampled during our September Whisky Ladies evening:

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