Asian Delights – Nikka Whisky From the Barrel 54.1%

Our Whisky Ladies of Mumbai are no strangers to Nikka Whisky – or this particular dram From the Barrel. Our last tryst was in 2017 when we tasted From the Barrel side by side with Super Nikka.

However our evening exploring “Asian Delights” veered towards gentle uncomplicated whiskies which demanded a close with something having a bit more “Oomph!”

So out popped this beauty to round out our evening… here is what we thought…

Nikka From the Barrel 54.1%

  • Nose – Initially a bit musty, overripe fruit, had a spice kick, needed time to settle down… cloves, sweet vanilla, rum raisins, baked fruit – particularly apple and pear, increasingly fruity as it opened up more, then revealed some flowers, even a bit of talcum powder
  • Palate – Fruity, spice, bold, malty, yet missing something
  • Finish – Lingers
  • Water – Do add! Enhances the character, rounds it, lots of body, wood came forward on the palate, completes this whisky… out comes some marvellous marshmallows, very tasty on the palate even with a chasing dash of cinnamon sweetness

Overall most preferred it with water – enjoying how it brought a more accessible, enjoyable, balanced dram.

What is nice about such a compact 500 ml bottle is that we have enough left over to enjoy a dram or two but not much more. As the last few drops came home with me, it might just be time to enjoy a wee nip!

What the Nikka folks have to say:

From The Barrel is an extremely complex blended whisky bottled at 51.4% ABV. In order to deliver its richness and full flavors, the blended liquid goes into used barrels for another few months for “marriage” before it is bottled.

We enjoyed a few other whiskies in our Asian Delights evening:

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Whisky Ladies Diwali Drams from Japan + Bhutan

Gathering bedecked in their colourful finery, the Whisky Ladies came together to enjoy some interesting Diwali Drams… specifically from Japan and Bhutan.

And while we didn’t gamble at cards, we did pit together different whiskies to see which prevailed!

What all did we sample as part of our Diwali celebrations?

Whisky Ladies Drams (Photo: Nikoulina Berg)

Just click on the whisky links above to read more about what we discovered…

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Nikka From the Barrel NAS 51.4%

From time to time, travel trumps attending our monthly tasting session. However our Nov 2014 evening was too unique to miss! Four whiskies from four different countries… I simply HAD to convince our host to do a special ‘make-up’ session.

Luckily it didn’t take too much arm-twisting when I could bribe him with a whiskies from a session he missed which featured Tyrconnel, Ledaig 1997 and Talisker Dark Storm.

What follows is a blend of another member’s notes with mine for your reading pleasure… 

Nikki from the barrel

Nikka From the Barrel NAS 51.4%, Japan, Nikka distillery

  • Colour – Warm wheat
  • Nose – Plum cake, fruit basket, mild citrus aroma, bold & woody yet unmistakably sweet
  • Palate – Sweet on the first sip, then slightly spicy finish, mild hint of leather and cinnamon. When returning after 20 mins – pure sweet smoothness
  • Finish – Comes out to say an exuberant ‘hello!’ with sassy spice
  • Water – Shot up the spice, but then settled

This blend reminds that sometimes it is worth playing around – in this case blend and then re-cask to further mature.

Definitely worth trying but not a future purchasing priority. Somehow the overall impression was interesting but not spectacular ‘I’m in heaven!’ kinda reaction. And definitely not in the same league as Nikka’s Taketsuru Pure Malt 17 year...  however to be fair not in the same price point either.

So there you have it! Our humble impressions of Nikka From the Barrel.

Do check out what others have to say too…

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World Tour – Hammer Head, Glen Breton, Nikka from the barrel, Mortlach 15 year

One consequence of gallivanting off to Amsterdam in November is I missed our monthly tasting session. However given it featured whiskies from four different countries, I convinced our host to do a special ‘make-up’ session.

What follows is a blend of the original sessions notes from another club member and mine from last night for your reading pleasure. 

Hammer Head (Photo: Carissa Hickling)

Hammer Head 23 year

Hammer Head 23 years 40.7%, Czech, Pradlo distillery

  • Colour – Pale
  • Nose – Bright fresh citrus, dry fruits, hint of bourbon
  • Palate – Mild chewy yet dry oak, a tinge of sour, lack of depth… re-tasted after 20 mins and had a flash of masala paan
  • Finish – What finish?? Really nothing much at all…

Blind tasting reactions:

  • Guessed may be around 40% as had no ‘punch’ on the tongue, age of around 10-12 years, likely not a blend
  • Declared an evening no-nonsense malt, easy on the palette

You can be forgiven for not being instantly familiar with this single malt from the Czech republic. Back in 1989, Pradlo distillery decided it was high time to make a proud Czech single malt. With only Czech barley, water from the Bohemia region, aged in 100% Czech oak, the one concession was using a hammer mill masher from Scotland, a single batch was produced. Then the Berlin wall fell and everything changed. Any further production stopped and the distillery was more or less forgotten. Til 23 years later it was ‘rediscovered’ and commerce took over with a decision to bottle the mystery malt.

The result? A curiosity piece, great story and slice of history more than a memorable malt.

Glen Breton

Glen Breton 10 year

Glen Breton 10 years 43%, Canada, Glenora distillery

  • Colour – Light pale yellow
  • Nose – Medicinal, lemon fusion
  • Palate – 1st impression is spice then a bitter turmeric – nothing else
  • Finish – Slightly bitter then vanishes

Coming from Canada, we’re known for Rye whiskey blends not sophisticated malts. Touted as one of only two single malt Scottish-style distilleries in Canada, it is ‘matured’ in American oak barrels. However seems much more akin to a not so great 3 year old, certainly not a 10 year! We previously sampled this disappointing offer and were reminded – do not repeat!

Nikki from the barrel

Nikki from the barrel

Nikka from the barrel, no age stated 51.4%, Japan, Nikka distillery

  • Colour – Warm wheat
  • Nose – Plum cake, fruit basket, mild citrus aroma, bold & woody yet unmistakably sweet
  • Palate – Sweet on the first sip, then slightly spicy finish, mild hint of leather and cinnamon. When returning after 20 mins – pure sweet smoothness
  • Finish – Comes out to say an exuberant ‘hello!’ with sassy spice
  • Water – Shot up the spice, but then settled

This blend reminds that sometimes it is worth playing around – in this case blended and then re-casked to further mature. Definitely worth trying but not a future purchasing priority.

 

Mortlach 15 year

Mortlach 15 year

Mortlach 15 years 43%, Scotland, Mortlach distillery, Gordon & Macphail

  • Colour – Burnished gold
  • Nose – Oily, christmas cake, overripe banana
  • Palate – Dances on the tongue, dry yet somehow also with a heavy oily undertone, hint of sweetness, smoooooth
  • Finish – Finally a ‘real’ finish like it never wants to let you go! Spicy

By far the most interesting of the evening and a reminder to keep grabbing the Gordon Macphail bottlings. A cross-sampling of the Mortlach and the Ledaig led to speculation that while each is distinct, there is a stamp of ‘character’ that distinguishes Gordon Macphail products.

Must say I’m glad I didn’t miss our little trip around the globe!

Glen Breton, Hammer Head, Nikka from the barrel, Mortlach

Glen Breton, Hammer Head, Nikka from the barrel, Mortlach

Other global tasting adventures include:

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