Over the years I’ve had a few opportunities to sample Nikka blends – bringing together the yin yang quality of their single malts Yoichi and Miyagikyo.
Specifically the The Nikka 12 year marries three elements – malt whisky from Yoichi and Miyagikyo with grain whisky distilled in a Coffey still.
Amusingly, our ‘Far East’ sampling of The Nikka began with dispelling the misconception that ‘coffey’ has anything to do with ‘coffee!’ Funny how our brain works… trying to sniff out a whiff of your morning brew even when ‘coffey’ refers to the kind of still Aeneas Coffey patented which revolutionised liquor production in the mid-1800s.
We also shared how Miyagikyo distillery is known for its lighter, more delicate and nuanced ‘feminine’ whiskies. Whereas the Yoichi distillery has a reputation for more robust, often peatland more ‘masculine’ whiskies.
The Nikka 12 year 43%
While I didn’t take notes at the time, walked away with an impression of:
- Nose – Fruity with pineapple, apples and pears, coconut, hint of peat, some vanilla sweetness
- Palate – Barley with just a dash of sweet spices and toffee, and while very much in the sweeter side still had some substance
- Finish – Light pepper, slightly woodsy
Overall a most enjoyable dram. Accessible, well-balanced and easy to just sip.
Pitched as a more affordable age statement, The Nikka 12 year has collected a number of awards to its credit and is currently easier to track down than many other Japanese whiskies.
Here’s what the folks over at Nikka have to say about their 12 year:
There is nothing more suitable than a blended whisky to represent Nikka’s way of whisky making.
The asymmetry design of the bottle is inspired by the neck of a “Kimono”, just as if the layers visualize all the passion and craftsmanship devoted in the history of Nikka. The honorable golden emblem engraved was designed by Masataka Taketsuru for his very first Nikka whisky bottle.
Malty, soft and well-balanced, this expression portrays our gratitude to the heritage and our will to advance our tradition.
We then continued our evening by selecting one element in The Nikka to explore further – Yoichi’s new NAS single malt expression.
If you are curious, here’s what others have to say about The Nikka 12 year:
And Whisky Lady notes to a few related whisky explorations…
- Nikka Coffey Grain 45% – Pina colada whisky!
- Nikka ‘From the Barrel’ NAS 51.4% – Blend, re-cask and enjoy…
- Nikka Blended Whisky 40% – An interesting slightly schizo vacillation between sweet and spice
- Miyagikyo 15 year 45% – Charming, malty with toffee sweetness
- ‘Yoichi’ 10 year 45% – Autumn delight with apple cider and more – yum!
- Taketsuru Pure Malt 17 year 43% – An absolutely ‘must try’ which demands you take your time to reveal its complex character
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