Masataka Taketsuru (1895) was a member of the family that had been producing Sake since 1733, but he was obsessed with Whisky. His passion led him to Glasgow, where he studied the art of making whisky to eventually become master blender. He not only found his passion, but also his wife, Jessie Roberta, who he married and took home to Japan. He was the first one to produce whisky in Japan while working for a company called Yamazaki, but in 1934 he started his own company, Nikka.
Nikka from the Barrel is a blended whisky from matured malt whisky and grain whisky, blended together and ‘married’ by ageing and bottles at 51.4 % / 102.8 proof
The bottle: This undeniably cool bottle comes in a basic box, made of thick, silky cardboard with basically only Japanese printed on it. The bottle appears to come straight from an old pharmacist with a very simple alu-cap to close to short neck.
The nose: Despite the high percentage of this whisky the nose is really soft, almost silky that leans towards a fine cognac. It is slightly sweet from orange and has a bit of dryness at the same time, reminiscent of a sweet sherry. After I added a drop of water more flavours are released: a bit of caramel and more wood shine through.
The contents: A very mature taste of toasted wood at first, followed by more sweet notes, liquorice, slightly salty (very nice!). The high level of alcohol numbs the taste just a little but it so nicely balanced with the taste.
The mixability: don’t mix it, unless it’s with a drop of water.
Overall: This is an amazing whisky, one of the finest I have ever tasted! It is very reasonably priced and I think a great asset to any spirits cabinet. It looks cool and the taste could also be a great introduction to Japanese whiskies.