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Miyagikyo distillery was founded in 1969 by Nikka, also known for their other distillery Yoichi that is located on the northern island of Hokkaido. Miyagikyo is located close to Sendai, a town 300 km to the north of Tokyo, and the distillery was called Sendai for a period of 32 years to be renamed Miyagikyo only after Nikka was taken over by the Asahi Brewery Company in 2001. Miyagikyo’s production output is actually larger than Yoichi’s, with most of its malt going into Nikka’s popular range of blended or vatted whiskies and with only a small percentage being bottled as single malt.
The nose is soft and very fruity with intense flavours of vanilla and apricots. After a while there are hints of sherry, followed by crème brûlée and caramel. Light smoke is very faintly detectable in the background.
The palate is full-bodied and buttery. Flavours of vanilla and fudge carry the day, together with notes of chocolate and nutmeg. The smoke that I had detected on the nose is now gone.
The finish is long, warming and mouth watering. There is a light nuttiness and a hint of menthol that evaporates right at the end.
Miyagikyo 12-year old is one of my favourite everyday malts. There is not one element that would let you down: the nose is sublime, the palate is nicely muscular, and the finish is both long and warming. Pour me a dram of this one anytime!