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Following the ancient scottish tradition of reviewing a whisky which bears the word "black" in its name to celebrate Jean-Luc's Birthday, here I am. Please note that the origins of this traditions are lost in the celtic heritage of Scotland, so it would be rude of me to neglect it. Having used my bottle of Black Bowmore to create the finest whisky cola ever tasted, I find myself compelled to replace it with Nikka Pure Malt Black.
This dram is what we used to call a "vatted" whisky in the past, i.e. a whisky created blending different malt whiskies, without the addition of grains.
The nose, as often with Japanese whiskies, is fragrant and almost "perfumey" (is that a word?). I get an immediate sweetness, fruits and treacle with an underlying earthiness that reminds me of the presence of peat.
On the palate the peat is much more present, I can feel it immediately and it stays with you in a nice balance with the sweet fruits (mature apples, a bit of peach, tropical fruits?)and the treacle. Mind you, is not Islay-like peat, it resembles the damp, earthy peat you find in Highland Park and maybe Jura whiskies (Superstition). Anyway, the whole is extremely balanced and without the off-key notes I notice from time to time in my bottle of Superstition. When I swallow I get also an undefined sensation of old, dusty furniture or books. Lovely.
Finish certainly doesn't last an eternity and continues to show that nice peat/sweat interplay, which makes me think that this one would be a total winner if bottled at a higher strength like is cousin "From the Barrel" blend.
Overall, this is a nice dram, balanced, pleasant and with an unengaging complexity which keep you interested without making you scratch your head. A perfect Birthday Dram I'd say. Slainte Jean-Luc!