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Nikka Miyagikyo 15 Year Old

An endearing edginess...

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@hunggarReview by @hunggar

11th Jun 2014


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

If you’re not familiar with Nikka, then you’re missing out. Having tried and loved several whiskies from them, I was very keen to give a Mayagikyou release a go. I don’t know if starting with the 15 yr old was the best choice as an introduction to the range, but it will have to do for now. This review is based on a 100 ml sample, and was watered only slightly.

Nose: Sherry, stewed apples, blood oranges, sultanas, balsamic vinegar, pine, soy sauce, malt, ginseng, pumpkin, and some heavy spices, such as chili, paprika, and allspice. Later I get aloe and spearmint. It’s not the most approachable nose, with bitter citrus, drying oak, and potent spices. However it is complex, and it opens up and becomes smoother and more inviting with time.

Palate: A powerful, rich, thick mouthfeel. Japanese oak, soy sauce, grass, charcoal, malt, raisins, roasted nuts, apple cinnamon, allspice, paprika, nutmeg, cinnamon, and stewed fruits.

Finish: Those heavy oaky spices carry on, and we get roasted pecans, cashews, caramel, charcoal, raisins, earth, smoke, grass, mustard seed, toasted sesame seed, unsweetened chocolate, cloves, damp leaves, and rum balls.

This is my first Miyagikyou, and it’s apparently one of their more difficult ones. There’s a coarseness to this dram that initially gave me pause. However time, water, and patience pay off with this one. It boasts some sharp, pointed flavours that are usually much rounder and easier in other Nikkas that I’ve tried. But that edginess does become endearing, and the flavours here are big, bold and complex. This is one of the ballsiest Nikkas I’ve had, which is fun. Recommended.

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Pierre_W commented

Congratulations on another exquisite review, @hunggar. I have just finished a bottle of this and can confirm many of your tasting notes. Once you get behind the complexity you get amply rewarded. In my opinion this one is a showcase for what the distillery is capable of. While I am writing this I am sipping a dram of the 12-year old that is much more smooth and balanced in comparison, but rather without edges. If you're in for a complex but rewarding ride, this is your dram! Many thanks again for a great review.

9 years ago 0

hunggar commented

Thanks @Pierre_W. Yes this was one of the more characterful Nikas that I've had. Unfortunately it was just a sample. I'm considering buying a bottle of this because it strikes me as a whisky that might "evolve" interestingly after having been opened. Definitely one I'd like to explore further.

9 years ago 0

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