Whisky Connosr
Shop Join

Nikka Pure Malt Black

Average score from 9 reviews and 26 ratings 83

Nikka Pure Malt Black

Product details

  • Brand: Nikka
  • Bottler: Unknown
  • ABV: 43.0%

Shop for this

What next?

  • Add to cabinet
  • Add to wish list
Nikka Pure Malt Black

The Pure Malt Black from Nikka, should it have been a Scottish product, would have to be called Blended Malt Black. It is composed with mostly Yoichi malt whisky, but upholstered with peated malt of which it is being whispered that this might be Islay malt. I last tried this in 2012 and thought it was okay. I wonder if this batch, more than four years later, is still good. On the nose I get a mix of exotic fruit like mango, pomelo and a slice of pineapple, but discrete peat stops it from becoming truly fruity. The peat gives it a dirty edge. But after a few moments something candy-like and some bubblegum appear. On the palate, the peat is a lot more outspoken and a grand smokiness develops, giving the fruit even less room, but it does work. It is nicely oily and very spicy. Think pepper, ginger and a bit of nutmeg. And salt! Yes, suddenly a brackish note appears, giving it a somewhat maritime character. In the finish, the peat slowly fades away, offering the final word to the sweet, yellow fruit. A lovely and very affordable bottle of Japanese whisky, that will please lovers of peat, I’m sure.


I'm assuming I'm reviewing the correct bottle. Connosr doesn't seem to have the Nikka Taketsuru pure malt black no age statement in it's database. Deep flavors that are buttery smooth, with some sweetness that reminds me of a Dewars blend. Also some citrus and vanilla that makes this a delicious copy of a scotch & bourbon all in one.

I have a bottle of this, but have yet to open it. Soon...

Thanks for the review!


A pure malt which is primarily made from Yochi malt. No age statement and no statement as to the other ingredients.

  • Nose: Marzipan, peaches, nectarines and golden syrup come first, underneath there are wine gums, some violets, macadamias and even some vanilla smoke. With water some anise comes through to add some bite also barley sugar and seemingly a Nikka theme, the dinner rolls are coming again.

  • Pallet: really thick and syrupy, boiled lemon sweets, toffee and more ripe fruits, then soft peat and nutmeg. With water goes a bit medicinal interestingly enough and some pepper comes out too.

  • Finish: peat and nutmeg linger around then give way to golden toast. With water milk chocolate note comes out

This is really good, well balanced, well flavoured. To be drunk at anytime for any reason, this is a good'n


Parts III and IV of my Nikka Tasting notes cover two whiskies in the Pure Malt range - Black and White. These are both blended malts so could be considered antecedents to the Taketsuru Pure Malt expressions (12, 17 and 21 Year Olds). Pure Malt Black gets the majority of it's malt from Yoichi, the rest from Miyagikyo.

The colour is burnished copper; the nose is heavy with malt, solvent, walnuts, and some peat smoke. Lots of toffee and dark fruits.Quite a rich nose - water brings out more of those solvent, turpentine notes.

The palate features even more toffee and caramel, also wet grass and liquorice. I get this acrid smoke, yet it is in the mouth rather than the nose. As you would expect, this is very malty but rather strong. Water spices things up a little, with some cloves and nutmeg.

The finish is medium length, but has depth of dark, juicy raisins - but a bitter off-note that is kind of tannic, or a bit too woody? I enjoy the nose of this more than the palate - perhaps some of it is slightly over-oaked? Enjoyable, but not quite up to the level of the From The Barrel nor the Taketsuru ranges. I feel like I enjoyed this more a few nights ago at our tasting than I am now...for some reason.


The Nikka Pure Malt Black is a peaty Japanese whisky produced from predominantly Yoichi malt with some Islay malt in the mix. The Pure Malt should actually be called a blended malt, but let us be honest, the term does not stick.

The peat is immediately present on the nose, but remains discreet. It is first and foremost a basket full of juicy yellow and red fruit that vies for attention. Mango, peach, blood oranges and quite some nuts. A jar full of honey and a touch of bubblegum.

It is mildly oily and spicy on the palate. Some pepper and ginger confit. The juicy fruit in a smoky jacket gets company from a handful of salt. Hints of butterscotch. Reminds me of salty licorice. The bubblegum is never far away, though. The peat becomes more powerful.

The finish is slightly smoky with the emphasis on the sweet fruit.

This is a complex and friendly priced Japanese whisky.


Nose: Fruity, and a little woody with a bit of orange zest,vanilla and butterscotch.

Palate: Cumin powder(I know this sounds odd), followed by pepper, vanilla and spicy wood.

Finish:Medium on Malty notes and fruit.

Not a bad dram,but nothing extraordinary. I know Jim Murray scored this one at the 90’s but In my opinion it’s in the lower 80’s. Nothing exciting, but well made.


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!

Oh I forgot to mention it, but the absurd title is the japanese translation of Happy Birthday (according to google translate)! Sadly some letters turned into question marks when I posted the review!

thank you @markjedi1, it will be cool seeing your thoughts when you review it!


Nose, Taste, Finish and Balance are graded out of 2.5 each:

Nose: Pure malt on the label, pure malt on the nose. Lots of it. Once you make it through that initial malty wave, there is warm honeyed oak, bedded in with fresh seaweed and salty smoke. A very complex nose. 2.0

Taste: Medium-bodied and effortlessly gentle. The oily seaweed sweeps around the palate, leaving a trail of smokey-sweet malt, and luxuriously spiced plum sauce. Wow. 2.5

Finish: This intriguing plum note sticks around for the after-show, continually growing as it welcomes in new cinnamon and spice flavours, adding to the ever-present smokey malt, all swirling together in a seemingly perpetual vortex of flavour. At the risk of repeating myself - wow. 2.5

Balance: Well, if I was to fault this blend, it would be to say that the nose, although delicious, is perhaps overly self-depricating, as it really doesn't do justice to the work of art that is to follow. For a work of art it is, almost a visual experience as the flavours spiral through the palate in a mesmerising display of balance and poise, with the plum and seaweed really stealing the show. A firm favourite. 2.0

I very much agree with your comparisons to the 'From The Barrel' and the Yoichi - both fantastic whiskies but for me this blend stands very proudly amongst them in the Nikka stable. Look forward to sampling the Liberty collection if I'm ever passing through Seattle!

Here at Liberty in Seattle, we have (as I understand it) the West Coast's most complete, quality Japanese whisky collection, and this whisky is a great addition to our hoard. A bit less faceted than the 'From The Barrel' and surely not as bright and alive as the Yoishi, but a delicious whisky, to be sure.

When are we going to start getting these whiskies here in America? We can handle it. We're ready.


Nose: a nice marriage of sweet, fruity notes (peach marmalade, oranges) and dry, earthy notes (peat, faint smoke, oak). Noticeable vanilla. Hints of flowery honey.

Mouth: more peat now, even phenolic hints of gouache. Slightly peppery. Ripe fruits and a bit of toffee. Salty hints of liquorice in the very end.

Finish: spices, sweet cocoa and smoke.

A good all-rounder with a firm character and balanced peat.

Certainly sounds worth trying. I'm assuming price is included in your full review on your website?

Seems like good value I'll look out for it.

Popular Nikka whiskies