Nose: 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.
Update: With a little over a third of the bottle gone there is now some obvious Yoichi smokiness coming through. Add a point.
Nose: 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.
Nose: 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%.
*Note- This is a blend of malt, coffey grain and rye whiskies.
Nose: 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.
Nose: 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.
Nose: 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.
*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.
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
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.
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
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