Nikka Pure Malt Red 43%abv

P1050291Nose: Cantaloupe, rose water, vanilla wafers, white peaches, fresh cut timber, pink grapefruit.
Palate: A bowl of mixed nuts, white peaches, peanut butter, there’s both savory and herbal elements, strawberries.
Finish: Salt, nuts, herbs such as cloves and oregano.
Last Word: Not a whisky that is going to blow your mind but blended with a purpose to be lighter in style to accompany food or as a summer sipper and with an emphasis Miyagikyo Malt Whisky. If this was Scottish it would be a Lowland Whisky.

Rating: 82/100

Nikka Taketsuru NAS Sherry Wood Finish 43%abv

taketsuru_sherry_wood_NASNose: Maltesers, caramel, oak, lacquer, dried fruits. Very gentle.
Palate: This is where things step up a few notches over the Taketsuru 12YO(I haven’t tried the standard NAS). Lots of juicy dried fruits, malt, quite a some pepper, sugared orange slices, and in lesser measure sherry, cloves and paprika. The oak is subdued.
Finish: Dried fruits, sugared orange slices, sherry, young tawny port and some decent length.
Last Word: Not amazingly complex but well balanced, the extra punch offered by the sherry cask finish is a welcome addition. Nose is a bit soft for my liking however.

Rating: 83/100

*Sample courtesy of Clint at Whiskies R Us

Nikka Takesturu 17YO circa 2013 43%abv


Nose: Oak, grated orange rind, fabric softener, strawberries, dates, honey oats, mild rose petal, scallop’s.
Palate: Hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, mustard, Arnott’s savory shapes, pepper, bubblegum, nougat, scallop’s. There is a unbalancing bitter element in the mix I’m not fussed about.
Finish: Nougat, mixed nuts, strawberries, bubblegum, some ashy dryness, ginger ale.
Last Word: Not mentioned in the above but it feels a little weak. I remember my first bottle being robust of nose and palate. This one feels a little watered down for want of a better description and the bitterness on the palate is a little off putting. The bitterness does tend to diminish after a couple of drams however.

Rating: 80/100

Nikka Pure Malt Black 43%abv circa 2012

nikka-pure-malt-black-circa-2012Nose: Loads of malt, touch of sherry, bubblegum, blueberries, pine. Some earthiness. Doesn’t sound exciting but it’s quite lovely.
Palate: Light body. Malt, bubblegum, toffee, nutmeg, coconut, cashews and that touch of sherry. Late arrival of smoke and ash ala Yoichi. Tasty.
Finish: Basically follows the palate with quite some smoke and ash.
Last Word: Ridiculously good for the money at less that $20 Australia in Japan. Right on par or maybe even a touch better than the 2010 batch so same score.

Rating: 87/100

Nikka Taketsuru 21 43% circa 2010


Nose: Masses of sweet oak, wheat, peaches, and the first hints I’ve had from this one of some sherry in the equation. After a while there are some floral notes.
Palate: Salt, big oak, malt, biscuity, ginger spice, black pepper, the soft coating on the outside of peanuts. Packs a lot more punch than 43% might suggest.
Finish: Is warming and a tad alcoholic. Medium length, mainly leaves some fresh mintyness and peanuts on the palate then a little dry.
Rating: 86/100

Nikka Pure Malt White 43%abv circa 2010


This whisky is a vatting of Yoichi malt and an Islay whisky.
Nose: There is a good whiff of peat as well as walnuts, wet moss, leather, sea spray, pepper, wood stain (after breathing for a while) and nectarines. After some time, there is a hint of lemon.
Palate: Nicely oily (nut oil). The peat comes through big time. Also charcoal, pepper and a slight bitterness. The second sip adds walnuts, creamy macadamia and a kind of minted toffee to the picture.
Finish: Medium length with earthy/vegetal peat dominating; macadamia, spice and mint. Slightly drying.
Last Word: This is ever so moreish and a real bargain. One for lovers of peaty whisky.
Rating: 88/100

Nikka Pure Malt Black circa 2010 43%abv


Nose: A little bit floral. Peaches, oak, peat, varnish, and pineapple. Malty, complex and smooth.
Palate: Very malty, bubblegum (a trait I find in many a Nikka/Yoichi/Miyagikyo whiskies), pepper, nutmeg, sweet peat and gentle smoke.
Finish: Excellent length, with peat, pepper, nutmeg, mint chocolate and lingering smoke.
General comment: Tasty and great value in Japan.

Rating: 87/100

Nikka All Malt. 40%abv


Nose: Maybe I’ve been sucked in by the name but this does indeed smell very malty. Lots of chewy toffee, walnuts, fresh cut timber, pears and pineapple.
Palate: Again nicely malty; pineapple, lemon sherbet, walnuts, nutmeg, dried mixed herbs and pepper.
Finish: Medium length: warming, malty and medium spiced.
Last Word: This is a good solid whisky that is reasonably complex. It is easy to drink a few glasses. An everyday drinker that’s great value in Japan, at around 1,000 yen.
Rating: 82/100

Nikka Pure Malt “Hokkaido” 12-year-old. 43%abv


Nose: Malt, oak, butter, pear, varnish, unscented soap, blueberries and cheese. Yep, cheese.
Palate: There’s a big malt component; blueberry cheesecake, cream, walnuts and toffee.
Finish: Medium length. Unscented soap and cheese. Malt, toffee and walnuts that cling to the palate, and some sweet spices.
Final Word: Interesting but good.
Rating: 86/100

Nikka Pure Malt tarudashi whisky genshu. 55.1%abv


Nose: Fairly acetone at first, then becomes a little floral. Some pear, soap flakes. There is not a lot going on and what there isn’t very pleasing.
Palate: Varnish, red grape, some nuttiness. Quite bitter. Adding water just flattens this further.
Finish: Bitter, a little perfumey.

Last Word: I think this one has OD’d on E-150.
Rating: 65/100

Nikka Tsuru 17-year-old. 43%abv


Nose: Malty. Freshly baked apple pie, lemon meringue, cloves, freshly cut timber, a little sherry, vanilla.
Palate: Again, nicely malty. Nutmeg, cloves, popcorn, apple pie with a white sugar dusted crust, vanilla custard, mango.
Finish: Short to medium and continuing the flavours from the palate and the freshly cut timber.

Last Word: A liquid desert

Rating: 87/100

Nikka Taketsuru 35-year-old 43 percent abv


Nose: Elegant yet very expressive. Plush and exotic. Ripe stone fruits, red berries, cinnamon, licorice, sweet orange, old leather chairs, ginger, tinned mango, cantaloupe (a first for me in a whisky), old cognac, faint hint of tar. I really don’t find any woodyness on the nose.

Palate: Sweet red grape/berries, vanilla, pipe tobacco, canteloupe, strawberry, creme caramel, glazed orange slices, old cognac and a little salt. Thirty-five years in oak barrels starts to make an impact, adding a drying element but it certainly isn’t much of a bother.

Finish: Not long but a lovely balance between fruit, wood, spice, leather and pipe tobacco. This is very different to the 3 others in the Taketsuru range. Some truelly exotic elements add to a wonderful whisky experience. Worth it just for the exquisite nose. Tasting was done from a sample.

Rating: 93/100