Whisky Review: Nikka Whisky From The Barrel

Category: Blended Japanese Whisky

Origin: Nikka’s distilleries likely Yoichi and Miyagikyo

Bottling: Nikka

ABV: 51.4%

Cost: £32.40 from Master of Malt

nikka-from-the-barrel-whisky

What they say:

This is a blend of multiple types of malt and grain that Nikka reserves. Nikka From the Barrel was created to deliver full flavors and richness of whisky “from barrels” which only blenders can sniff and taste. As the whisky contains so many characteristic components at a higher alcohol of 51.4%, it is essential to let the liquid “marriage” in used casks for 3-6 months for it to stabilize and harmonize. The concept of the unique short squared bottle is “a small lump of whisky”, which perfectly visualizes the rich and strong taste of the whisky inside.

Nose:

Medium-body with good balance. There are notes of cut flowers and fresh fruits, spice and a little oak.

Palate:

Full-bodied and punchy. There is plenty of winter spice and toffee, a little caramel and vanilla and a good mouthful of fruit.

Finish:

Long, warming and fruity with a little oaken spice.

What I say:

Thanks to Richard at Adventures in Whiskyland for the sample of this frankly delicious ‘cask strength’ blend from Nikka’s stable. Well known as one of the best-value Japanese whiskies easily available and affordable in the UK. This blend of malt and grain is probably made up of mostly whisky produced at Yoichi and Miyagikyo distilleries, including grain/Coffey still whisky produced at the latter. It is generally assumed that the two major whisky producers in Japan (Nikka and Suntory) have no established trading relationship, unlike Scotch distillery owners who have long had a tradition of supplying stock for various blending houses and trading in stock between each other directly. Nikka also produce Coffey still whisky at their Tochigi plant where their blended stock undergoes barrel-maturation (or re-storage) so some of this may find its way in too. As there is no declaration/or legal requirement to declare either, this blend may well include Scotch whisky in it too – e.g. malt from Nikka’s Ben Nevis distillery? Like most blends it is a great unknown exactly what the constituents are and when it is this good it is not worth losing sleep over either, just sit back, relax and drink!

Colour:

Full caramel gold (10/20), fine tears and fine legs

Nose:

Caramel and honey sweetness, malty, cereal barley, soft brown/Muscovado sugar, fudge, toffee, dusty ‘powdered bisuit’ cereals and a hint of smoke/wet wood smoke, this has a rice cracker/umami savouriness too.

Taste:

Starts with a rich caramel sauce and fudge which deepens to toffee, cereal, gristy, barley, wheat and oats, flapjacks with honey, highly polished oak wood, vanilla pods, walnuts and beeswax

Finish:

Medium-short on the finish (I would have liked longer), slightly saccharine quality to the sweetness but still constructed with woody sugars

Overall:

Deeply sugared and woody, this really is great stuff, a touch of water helps which it takes well without changing character too much.

Score: 84/100

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