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Well, it's been a couple of weeks since I posted the other Nikka whiskies I've been tasting (was away on vacation for a week, and life and work have been busy) - but we are back with the first of two single malts.
One of Nikka's two distilleries, Miyagikyo produces the more lightly fragrant and fruity malt (the distillery also makes Nikka Coffey Grain Whisky). They are available in 10yo, 12yo, 15yo and NAS (made to be drunk mizuwari-style, in a highball).
The nose is quite malty, with vanilla pods, light honeys and caramels, and tropical fruits like mango and papaya. Floral and perfumy. More oakiness than you would expect from a 12 year old. Very nice. Water brings out that fruitiness, and also some peat.
The palate has many of the same characteristics as the nose, but features a little more oak, honey and vanilla. With water, it gets more bitter and herbal.
There is a wisp of smoke on the oaky finish, which is quite long and deep. This is a lovely single malt, and not without some bite; but there is something about it that leaves me wanting a little more. I remember tasting the 15 year old at WhiskyLive Toronto last year, and think I like it a little more - but this 12 year old is well worth investing in.