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The Nikka whisky is produced in two distilleries: Yoichi and Miyagikyo. Contrary to Scottish tradition, blends in Japan are composed of the whiskies produced by own distilleries, not different distilleries. Nikka Whisky from the Barrel is exactly that, a cask strength whisky. Although it is a marriage of single malt and grain whisky, bottled batch after batch after batch at the same strength. The grain whisky comes from Miyagikyo, the malt whisky from Yoichi. The marriage took place in first fill bourbon casks.
The nose is very alcoholic at first, but then develops into nice aromas from wild flowers, juicy citrus fruit, orange zest and apricots. I am inclined to think this is a sherry cask, but research contradicts that. Very spicy as well. Light hints of bourbon. Toffee, vanilla and raisins. Even a hint of smoke. Nutroma, the condensed milk for your coffee! This is quite interesting.
It is very creamy with a full body. Almost syrupy. Honeysweet and spicy. Caramel, vanilla and citrus fruit again. A mixed bag of peppers and some cinnamon. Makes me all warm inside.
The long finish gives both juicy fruit and coconut as well as a wonderful smokiness from the oak, but the mouth is left completely dry.
What a pleasant surprise indeed. A great Japanese whisky!