Thanks to all the people who swapped me these. It’s been awhile, so I can’t find where they came from. Apologies. I’m logging in my swaps now to ensure that everyone gets a shout out in the future.
So fun story time (feel free to skip): I ended up wanting to do a review of all the Nikka Malts. And then I wanted to do a review of all the Nikka Taketsuru’s as well.
While I could have made this a massive review that was a little mish mash, I decided against it. As such, I had 11 Nikka Whiskies to review, in three batches.
Then I made some swaps, and needed bottles free. So I stepped up the Orphan batch of reviews, and this is them. Do they fit together? Not as well as I would have preferred.
Am I going to beat myself up about it? Not really.
Up first we have Nikka Coffey Grain. At first I had hoped this was a whisky that was aged in coffee barrels. And that somehow a major company didn’t know how to spell Coffee.
I’m kinda dumb.
Instead this is a grain whisky, mostly made from corn, that is made using spirit from Coffey stills. A Coffey still is an upgrade of a column still. It’s known to make a smoother whisky with easier to drink flavours.
Also it wasn’t at all liked in Ireland due to some perceived loss of taste.
So let’s see how Japan used this Irish invention, shall we?
Price: N/A at the LCBO
Colour: 2.5Y 5/6
Nose: Honey, cereal, pear, toffee, grapefruit, peanuts, violets
Very surprising nose on this one. It starts out like a Speyside yet has more to it. Elements I’m used to in Bourbon are there as well.
It’s odd. Very odd. Wonder how it would taste finished in coffee barrels?
Taste: Caramel, Rice Krispies, buttery, pepper, burnt toast, lemon, alcohol
Boozy, and a little burnt. Whatever the still, this isn’t lacking in flavour. It’s very cereal-y and buttery.
After awhile I’m getting more alcohol and burnt elements. Kinda rough to me.
Finish: Espresso, caramel, cumin, earth, strawberry, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, alcohol
Yes, I know there’s no coffee. Yes, I know I have coffee on my mind. No I don’t think it doesn’t taste like espresso. Dick.
More cereal, some sweetness and a lot of different notes. However also some alcohol that I’m not too fond of.
Conclusion: It’s grain whisky, that’s for certain, yet they’ve hidden a lot of the different rough notes into an interesting and bonkers dram. I’d say buy a bottle. Sure, there’s some alcohol notes, and such, it’s not too refined, however there’s much, much worse grain whisky (and single malts) out there, and this is tasty as heck.
I wonder what it would taste like finished in coffee barrels?
1001 Whiskies you must taste before you die review #226
And now for a re-review of Nikka Yoichi 10. Why? Because it was one of my first. And because I ended up with it in a tasting pack. And because I thought “Why the heck not?”
It’s been said before that I should revisit some of my old reviews. I’m getting somewhat long-in-the-tooth with reviews. Just lousy with them. And some, I’ll even say this, need to be revised.
And I shall do so as I come along them. So I came along this now dwindling malt. Made at Yoichi distillery in Hokkaido, this malt was one of the first I ever reviewed, a gift from my wife. So I’m somewhat sad to see it go.
This is pot-still whisky, so kinda like an Irish. Couldn’t find how many times it was distilled though, so I’m going to assume not three times, like Irish or Lowlands.
Price: N/A at the LCBO
Colour: 2.5Y 6/6
Nose: Pear, grass, plum, wood, strawberry wine, grain
Fruity, grasssy, and light. Notes of alcohol blend with the fruit and grain to make a nice summer nose on this one, however there’s a little more wood than I’d prefer.
Show’s it youth.
Taste: Honey, anise, cinnamon, cumin, dust, simple syrup, light lemon
Starts out really spicy and with strong caramel/sweet flavours, however eventually has this lemon-y, over sweet and dusty mix that I am not a fan of. At all.
All and all, I like the spice, yet it fades into a sweeter, more bland flavour.
Finish: Grain, caramel, grass, pepper, carrot/parsnip, mace
Mace is the outside of the nutmeg seed that has a lighter taste than nutmeg.
Now that it’s out of the way: More of the same, yet it doesn’t fade with time. Not as spicy either.
Conclusion: I think this is a good malt to have on hand to serve people. The taste somewhat let’s it down, yet the finish and nose are quite nice. Save it for summer, sit out on the beach, and swear vengeance on the ninjas who took away your father.
You know. As one does.
1001 Whiskies to taste before you die re-review
101 Whiskies to try before you die re-review
Finally we have Nikka Miyagikyo 15, from the (surprise, surprise) Miyagikyo distillery in Sendai.
No, not Senpai. The city, Sendai.
Anyway, Miyagikyo is a little harder (and more expensive) to find, so this is the first time I’ve had it. I think I fell bass ackwards into receiving this, as it’s been on the shelf for quite awhile.
The other difference is they use steam-distillation versus the Yoichi coal-fired distillation. Also this is the oldest Miyagikyo out there. The region was chosen
due to the similarities to Scotland, with clean air and lack of Godzilla. Yoichi was actually chosen for these similarities, the other because it’s in the mountains and what not. Check out the comment below for more information.
So, let’s see how this one tastes, shall we?
Price: N/A at the LCBO
Colour: 7.5YR 5/8
Nose: Cherry, grape, anise, cinnamon, papaya, nutmeg
Distinct fruits in a nose are always a good thing. It means that there are distinct flavours and different elements to each. I do enjoy it with the spice. Normally I’d say it was just variations on each one, however in this case I’m quite impressed.
You can really smell the lack of Mothra as well.
Taste: Cinnamon, walnut/candied pecans, oil, sea salt, peach, coconut, caramel
Very nutty, with different elements pairing quite well with the nuts. I’m not the biggest coconut fan, and at times the raw, indistinct oil notes get away from the nuts and…
Well, no one likes oil off there nuts.
Finish: Papaya, ginger, cumin, Fuzzy Peach, allspice, birch, mint
Sweet, yet there’s earth/dry elements that balance out the sweetness and earth. Liking the return of Papaya as well. That’s such a rare and fun taste to have in a whisky.
Conclusion: It’s a well made malt, don’t get me wrong. The nose is nice, the taste, while not as good and has some issues, is tasty, and I love the Papaya in the finish. Also the lack of Godzilla. That’s good too.
So I think I’d buy a bottle…. if I could. And I don’t mean that just because it’s not available. I mean that it’s prohibitively expensive, especially for the quality.
Again, this is a nice malt. However it’s really quite expensive for what you get, which is a typical 15 year old malt. So while I enjoyed it, I won’t be buying it until they step things up.
World Whisky reviews #92-94, Japan reviews #14-16, Whisky Network Review #493-5
1001 Whiskies you must taste before you die review #227