Nikka The 60th Anniversary Est. 1934 Blend 45%abv

P1050330Nose: Banana mouse, brandy, blueberries, toffee, steamed corn cob, apricots, maple syrup, hint of orange, bay leaves.
Palate: Paprika, oregano, chili powder, chocolate coated coffee beans, mashed banana’s, blueberries, toffee, old leather, dried tobacco leaves.
Finish: Oregano, pepper, dried tobacco leaves, fried banana, pineapple, bay leaves.
Last Word: The mainly sweet nose belies the herbaceous palate and finish that follows. A very smooth and approachable blended whisky, there should still be enough flavor and complexity to satisfy many. A little bit of Yoichi peated whisky in the mix to add a smoky element would not have gone astray.

Rating: 86/100

Update: With a little over a third of the bottle gone there is now some obvious Yoichi smokiness coming through. Add a point.

The Nikka Premium Blended Whisky 12YO 43%abv

P1050275Nose: Tequilaesque pepper, butterscotch, ginger snaps, orange peel, marshmallows, oak, furniture polish.
Palate: Butterscotch, caramel, pepper, nutmeg, ginger snaps, salt oak, cocoa, nougat. A few drops of water brings out malt, juicy apples and pears and reduces the spices a little.
Finish: Oak, nutmeg, cocoa powder, ginger snaps, spearmint. With water green apple and malt.
Last Word: I prefer this with a few drops of water which engenders this whisky with a fresher, more lively character. Being fond of the older Blend of Nikka both the NAS 45% and the 17YO, I was hoping for some Yoichi smoke. None so far but it may develop as the level of liquid in the bottle diminishes. Classy bottle/presentation for a whisky that costs about $45-50 in Japan.

Rating: 83/100

Nikka Super Session Triad Blended Whisky 100 Proof

nikka-triad-super-session-50Nose: A little toffee, raisins, tobacco, peanuts, wood stain, cinnamon, cloves and moulding oranges.
Palate: Toffee, raisins, orange, yoghurt, marzipan, ginger, peanut butter.
Finish: Short on yoghurt, marzipan, peanut butter and sweetened lemon.
Last Word: I expected far more complexity as I really enjoy the Rye Base 43%.

Rating: 74/100
*Note- This is a blend of malt, coffey grain and rye whiskies.

Nikka Corn Base 100 Proof

nikka-corn-base-50Nose: First whiff is fairly acetone. Creamed corn, fermented pears, golden syrup on waffles. Water brings out some vanilla and pineapple.
Palate: Stewed apples, salt and pepper, fermented pears, creamed corn. Some vanilla and orange with water.
Finish: Pretty much follows the palate.
Last Word: As you can tell, pretty simple and uninspiring stuff. I’d did prefer the 43% version, though not by much.

Rating: 72/100

The Blend of Nikka 45%abv

the-blend-of-nikka-45Nose: Very fruity. Red apples, blueberries, overripe peached, sultanas, papaya. Fabric softener, lemon meringue, Japanese bars.
Palate: Again the fruitiness. Some vanilla, wax, salt and pepper, bubblegum, maltesers, leather and gentle smokiness.
Finish: Oak, light pepper, maltesers, papaya, leather. Linger on a pillow of light smoke then some very late red grape.
Last Word: Lovely daily dram. The 17YO is even better of you can still find it.

Rating: 86/100

Nikka Whisky From The Barrel 51.4%abv circa 2012

nikka-wftb-circa-2012Nose: Typical of many Nikka blends with not a lot of grain influence. Mixed peel, mandarins, malt, oak, apricots, grapefruit, woodstain.
Palate: Maple syrup, mandarins, bubblegum, malt, honey, nuts, sweet spices, oak. Slightly oily.
Finish: Tangy spices, mandarins, bubblegum, nuts and some drying wood.
Last Word: Not quite up to previous batches I’ve tried before including this 2009 version, which was spicier and felt like a bigger whisky overall.

Rating: 86/100

*Update 11/1/2012. Enjoying the last(large dram) of this bottle and the big spices seem to be concentrating at last. That’s more like it.

Nikka Super 43%abv


Nose: A bit spirity. Kind of reminds me of those middle of the road Scotch blends my parents used to drink: stewed apples, bran, straw, glue. Not bad, but not special either.
Palate: Fairly smooth and clean; very malty. Peanut shells, chocolate, bran, oranges and glue.
Finish: Medium length with malt, spice and uncooked rice.
Last Word: This is a pretty straight forward blend that would go well with ice on a warm day or with your favorite mixer.
Rating: 74/100

Nikka From the Barrel. 51.4%abv circa 2009


Nose: Lots of chunky malt, mixed peel, dried apricots. A bowl of mixed nuts, wood stain and some subtle florals.
Palate: Just excellent! Tons of big beautifully integrated spices, creamy nuttiness, nougat and malty goodness. No need for water with this one as it’s perfectly drinkable neat.
Finish: Long, warming, malty, nutty, spicy and mouth coating.
Last Word:  I find it very hard to stop at just one glass of this stuff.

Rating: 91/100

Nikka Ageing Triple Blended Malt. 40%abv


Nose: Quite simple on pears, green apple, lemon, malt, freshly cut timber, yeast. A little waxy. Reminds me of Glen Moray NAS.
Palate: Slightly bitter. Flat sprite, pears, freshly cut timber, malt, pepper, grapefruit.
Finish: Short on timber, pepper, grapefruit, malt.
Last Word: The label says it is blended with “new type” malt whisky. If that means it young, it certainly tastes it.
Rating: 69/100

Nikka Whisky Grand Age blend. 45%abv


Nose: Very oaky(grand age). Varnish, toffee, bran and hay. Not particularly inviting.
Palate: Improves on the nose. The oak tones down and there’s lots of sweet spice. Quite nutty. Clingy mouth feel. Some ginger ale.
Finish: Toffee and ginger ale. The oak makes a big return but a little too big unfortunately. The spicy sweetness remains.
Rating: 72/100

Nikka 70th Annivesary Selection Blended Whisky 12YO 58% ABV


Nose: Malt, lemon, salt, anise, earthy. Floor polish, grapefruit, hazelnut, coffee grinds.
Palate: Needs water. Ton’s of lemon sherbert zing. Also, quite hot, with pepper and chilli powder. Malt, peanut shells, hazelnut, bittersweet. Ferrero Rocher, Hubba Bubba, creaming soda.

Finish: Long, with a little smoke, anise, oak, hazelnut, peanut shells, grapefruit and mint.
Rating: 87/100

Nikka Rye Base (malt and rye blend). 43% abv


Nose: Delightful. Vanilla, rye, rye bread spices (fennel, aniseed, cardamom), ginger bread, malt, caramel, lacquered teak.
Palate: As tasty as the nose is delightful. Again, vanilla, caramels, toasty rye, lacquered teak. Peanut butter, balanced sweet-and-savory spices and plenty of ginger bread.

Finish: Short/medium. Toasty rye, malt, sweet/savory spice combo, a little oak then mint ice cream.

Final Word: Enjoyed by all who tasted this one with me for the first time at Shot Bar Zoetrope Tokyo last year. Glad I now have a bottle.
Rating: 87/100