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Nikka Coffey Malt

Average score from 7 reviews and 12 ratings 85

Nikka Coffey Malt

Product details

  • Brand: Nikka
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • ABV: 45.0%

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Nikka Coffey Malt

Neat at Barcelo Madrid Tower Hotel. It pours clean dark golden, some amber highlights. Aroma is very intense and sweet: vanilla, crème brûlée, pudding, caramel: all that. Some red hot pepper and tobacco as well. Mouthfeel is pungent and warm, mouth-covering, dry and quite long-lasting. Smoke in the aftertaste.


The Nikka Coffey Malt Whisky has no age statement. The reviewed bottle is owned by @Maddie. The whisky was sampled when the bottle was first opened and again 3 weeks later

Nose: strong intensity malt flavours mostly expressed as cereal with just hints of grassiness. This is mostly medium-pitched with a very good sweet-dry balance. There are light pleasant well-integrated wood flavours. Is there a hint of wine influence? Maybe, but just a hint. This is basic, but good. Water added increases the sweetness, raises the pitch, and bundles the flavours. Score: 21.5 points with and without water added

Taste: crisp pointed flavours present upon delivery, reflecting pointedly all three elements of barley, oak, and perhaps wine. Quite pleasant. Water added increases sweetness. Score: 22/25 points with and without water

Finish: medium length for the grain flavours, with the death occurring on wood (and wine if there is any here). This loses some balance proceeding throughout the finish. Water added bundles the flavours throughout the finish. Score: 20/25 with and without water

Balance: very good on the nose and delivery; fair to good on the finish. Score: 21/25

Total Sequential Score: 84.5 points


Strength: very strong nose flavours; strong palatal flavours; adequate strength on the finish. Score: 22/25

Quality: good to very good grain flavours; good albeit understated wood flavours; good to very good wine flavours (maybe). Score: 21/25

Variety: very adequate variety of flavours. Score: 21/25

Harmony: very good harmony on nose and delivery; fair to good harmony on the finish. Score: 21/25

Total Non-Sequential Score: 85 points


Comment: I re-tasted this whisky after 3 weeks to see if anything new developed, but found it to be little changed after that period of time. Nikka Coffey Malt is a solid product with a basic approach. I am curious to see how the flavours of this bottle may change over months and years of air exposure. I consider Nikka Coffey Malt Whisky to be a good bottle, but not a "must-have"

I've been eyeing this one at the shop. Nice to see a review from you again @Victor. It seems like it has been a while. I always appreciate your insights.

@RianC, thanks for joining in.

The Japanese products have indeed become relatively expensive in most locations, and, as you know, the age-stated products have become generally hard to find. Even at the distilleries in Japan themselves one can come up empty when looking to buy Japanese age-stated products.

I have liked all of the Japanese whiskies which I have tried, but I don't go chasing them much now that prices have risen substantially over the last 5 or 6 years. You already know Nikka From the Barrel, which is one of the NAS ones which I myself like to have around (though I own none at this point).

Really, if you can pick up a bottle of Yamazaki 12 yo and/or Hakushu 12 yo I think that you are doing about as well as you can do today with respect to good quality at a price that, while not inexpensive, won't break the bank.

That little blended whisky Suntory Toki really surprised me by being a refreshing and rather flavourful addition to the line-up at a relatively low price. For those who like seasonality in their whisky selection, Toki is a quintessential summer whisky, sort of the Pinot Grigio of whiskies in brightness with more of a Chardonnay level of texture. If you want light and upbeat I do recommend Toki. .


Both Yoichi and Miyagikyo single malts are distilled in traditional pot stills, but the company Nikka also has several column stills as well, called Coffey stills. Those are used to create both grain and single malt whisky. Nikka has bottled these as Coffey Grain and Coffey Malt. Let us put these head-to-head, ending with the malt. Sweet malt, lime zest and juicy pears precede white bread and a handful of hazel nuts on this very sweet nose. Nice hint of café latté with whipped cream and vanilla. After a few moments I even get some pastry. Well, this is a rather nice nose indeed. Oily on the palate and gently spiced. Think pepper and liquorice. The fruit is again of the citrus family, while some yellow plums come to the surface. But what stands out mostly for me is a dark sweetness that reminds me more of a rum than whisky. The coffee becomes praline, the whipped cream turns to vanilla custard. It’s the plums that linger the longest in this medium long and sweet finish. This is much more interesting than the grain variant and I’m not saying this because I am a malt snob. I’m not. This is simply much more complex and better. Around 55 EUR, just like the Coffey Grain.

I need to find this one while I'm still in Asia. I'm curious about the column stills. Appropriate background to your review, I would love to see Mt Fuji in person.


I'm reviewing a small sample a friend gave to me that he bought on a visit to Japan. So other than it is 45% ABV I cannot say too much about the bottle itself as the labels are entirely in Japanese, (although Googling will bring up some info).

Nose is predominantly sweet with Caramel, Coffee, Marzipan and just a tiny hint of grapefruit citrus. It is rich and intense becoming more so the longer it breathes in the glass. Tiny notes of aniseed and fennel become apparent. It's a nose that really builds anticipation.

The palate has an incredibly thick mouthfeel - marzipan and marshmallow immediately hit with the fennel of the nose being a bit more obvious now. Sweet treacle pudding then comes through. Oily and chewy; further coffee and caramel.

Finish is of medium length - fairly sweet again with fruit pudding notes.

A delicious whisky - its main strengths being an incredible nose and a very nice oily-thickness. It is a fairly sweet whisky but this is well balanced with a good complexity. I'll be looking for a UK bottling to see how it compares.


Nikka Coffey Malt Whisky is a curiosity! Of course it is a Japanese whisky. But it is also a malted barley distilled in a Coffey still, the kind used for grain whisky, which are never used for Malt! So instead of a pot still with double distillation, a continuous distillation. I was curious so I bought a bottle. Another thing odd about this bottle is that I'm a French Canadian from Montreal who bought this bottle in Prince George British Columbia to realise that it is imported by La Maison du Whisky from France. Really?

Anyway, Time to go to business!

Nose: This one has a very evolving nose. On a fresh poor, a lot of alcool with orange liquor. Right after, first surprise, cherry and almond in a very Canadian Rye way. Then some Sherry notes with dry spices and dry cereal and the more it oxydizes, the more wood spices you get with nutmeg and musk. Freshly opened, I had a lot of floral notes in the middle but they seems to have almost vanished or to be well integrated. Wait, if I leave my glass unattended for more than half an hour, they are back. The wood and the floral notes are coming out like a Bourbon. At the end, there is caramel with a lot of brown sugar on a little of oatmeal, the way I was eating it when I was a kid.

The palate: Forget the orange, the cherry and almond, it jumps straight to the Sherry notes... and then the floral notes, in a rush, to end with the brown sugar melting on the oatmeal where it languishes. The air really enhance the brown sugar flavor.

The finish: rather short, when I gap for air the wood and floral notes swirl for a moment on top of the brown sugar and then fade away in a soothing way.

Conclusion: This whisky is very smooth if you let it breathe. The malt is almost non-existing. For me this Coffey Whisky is to Malt Whisky what Wheated Whisky is to Bourbon: another species. Sweet and smooth on the palate, it keeps some kicking spicies on the nose. It is a feel good whisky to take at home with your slippers on. For the Scotch snob who wouldn't go for a grain whisky, a Bourbon or a Rye, it could be a first step out of his comfort zone. It is interesting but base on this unique bottle, I prefer by far pot still whisky.

@Wineandwhiskey I understand the eggnog reference. That would have been a good one for me to if the brown sugar wouldn't have been that big. I add two points to the finish because, I have to admit, even if only for the brown sugar, it is longer than I said; it's just that I discarded this brown sugar probably because I'm a bit of a snob. A couple of guys to whom I gave samples find chocolate in it. Not me, or, maybe, some milk chocolate. Did you get chocolate yourself?

Thanks for reviewing this whisky Robert, it deserves the attention. I bought my first Coffey Malt two months ago and definitely prefer it over the Coffey Grain. If I had to describe the nose and palate in just one word it would be: eggnog. It is a smooth full flavored whisky, and very easy to drink. If you consider to introduce your wife to whisky, this is the one that paves the way.


Coffey stills also known as Continuous or Column stills were invented by French born Irishman Aeneas Coffey and are mainly used to distill grain whisky. Whisky made from malted barley is distilled in pot stills.

I could go into the rather lengthy explanation on the difference between the two but I won't. Let's just say that copper pot stills require two separate distillations to produce new make and must be done in batches.

Coffey stills on the other hand employ a rather unique method where the wash and the resulting alcohol vapors are run continuously through the two columns (hence, Continuous stills) to create an extremely high strength liquid (as high as 95%).

Nikka decided that it would be a good idea to run 100% malted barley through Coffey stills just to see what happens. This process is unheard of in Scotland making Japan the only place in the world where this kind of spirit is produced. There is also a Coffey Grain Whisky from Nikka to go along with this.

This is actually a rather new addition to the Nikka lineup having only been launched in January 2014.

My particular sample is a NAS bottling at 45%. There is precious little information on it's maturation or it's age. But if I was to hazard a guess I would peg it any where between 6-8 years with a sherry finish.

Nose: Bourbon like. Chocolate. Leather. Honey. Maple syrup. Marzipan. Ripe bananas. Stewed apples. Raisins. Figs. Fruit cake. Almonds. Cinnamon. A very sweet nose almost dripping with thick brown sugar and molasses.

Palate: Apples. Black pepper. Fruit cake. Tobacco leaf. Creme caramel. Toffee. Madeira cake. Cinnamon. Coffee beans. Very smooth delivery but which feels a touch under-powered. I would have liked a little zing but it stays soft.

Finish: Long. Oily. Tobacco lead. Cinnamon dust. Mild chocolate.

I think by running 100% malted barley in Coffey stills Nikka have come up with quite a unique flavor profile. The strong tobacco leaf and apple combination is quite nice. I'll be trying the Nikka Coffey Grain (made from corn) next for a little head-to-head comparison.

Till then I'm quite happy to nurse this one for a while.

My brother just gave me a bottle of the Nikka Coffey Grain as a b'day gift this past weekend--very good indeed. When he went to buy this and read the label, he thought he was buying me a whisky infused with coffee. He thought it would be an interesting combo knowing that I'm a serious coffee freak. To then realize that it was the name of the still designer.

It's interesting reading your review and comparing it to my experience with the grain version. I will be be reviewing the grain version in the coming days. Giving it such a good score, I must find me a bottle of the Malt version asap. Great review as always!!

Saw this one in Paris for the 1st time, but the store wasnt open(!) There is a similar expression from the same still, but from a single grain. I think Rigo means the regular Nikka age statement line. I think it would be wise to start at the 12 and see if you like the character. Plus, in younger Nikkas the peat is still detectable:)


Nikka operates two Coffey type column stills within Miyagikyo distillery that were imported from Scotland in 1963 and of which Nikka claims that they “yield a distillate with more flavour and depth than modern column stills”. These Coffey stills were used to distill the 'Nikka Coffey Malt Whisky', a 100% malt bottling; usually, Coffey stills are only used for grain whisky distillation. In Scotland this could not be called ‘single malt’ as Scotch whisky regulations demand that single malt Scotch is distilled in pot stills.

The nose is very soft and aromatic. There are plenty of banana flavours, together with vanilla, coconut cookies, and hints of jelly beans. Later on flavours reminiscent of Baileys Irish cream come up.

The palate is medium-bodied and slightly spicy. Vanilla, banana and coconut flavours are back, underpinned by milk chocolate and honey.

The finish is surprisingly long, warming and dry. The influence of wood spiciness is still there, together with the ubiquitous banana flavours and hints of milk chocolate.

Partly, this tasted like a fruit juice with a good shot of wood spiciness. Not overly complex, this was the perfect dram to be slowly sipped on a warm summer evening.

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