Nikka 'From The Barrel' | 51.4% | Japan
Meet #9 | 09/04/11 | Hosted by Phil
As part of a world whisky extravaganza, we went to the Far East to sample one of Japan's lesser-known offerings, this small but mighty Nikka blend.
It's fair to say there's a lot of Christmas in this one, or as the Japanses call it, "December 25th". Honey, dates, (syrup of) figs, cinnamon, spiced apple and sultanas soaked in tea. The fruity theme continues, with some (overripe) bananas, apricots, rhubarb, stewed pears and canteloupe melon. The nose then goes on holiday to a drought-ridden Jamaican moorside: beef jerky, dustiness and heather featuring, whilst the atmosphere is lifted with a few wax crayons and some candle wax - yeh mon!
There's a simple sweetness going on here, penetrated by more complexity as the full body hits. Cream, vanilla, marzipan, raisins, golden syrup and muscovado sugar begin the assault, creating a kind of nasal Victoria sponge. There's a midway between the sweetness and the battle, with paprika and pepper hinting at what's to come. Then chili, cloves and lots of wasabi hit with some salt (from the South China Sea as well as good ol' rocks) and salted whale blubber (for research purposes only) as well as the feeling of internal public space. This is all finished off with a citrusy end, lemon and orange zest both saying 'sayonara' to this monster.
Our first Japanese whisky - a powerful blend of Yoichi casks.
Finish & Comments
This Japanese offering has an impressive strength and complexity and the finish reflects this. It's a mixture of sweet, spice and citrus after it's gone down: lime, lemon curd and citrusy feelings, toffee, honey, vanilla and plenty of caramel. And just when you think it's all over, the paprika comes back to say a quick 'harro'. Lovely stuff.
We've always scored out of 10 in our group (see number in red box, below), with scores regularly given across that spectrum. The value out of 100 below is adjusted to the scale most commonly used for whisky reviews, to allow for better comparison.
82 / 100
Detailed scores (out of 10)
Tasting Game Points (out of 5)
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