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I recall reading somewhere that Taketsura 12 year old is a vatting of malts from two Nikka distilleries: one is Yoichi and I can't remember the other. The bottle exemplifies Japan's preferences in whisky packaging: dark glass and an attractive, well-designed plastic cap. Also this comes in a curious 660ml bottle.
The whisky comes off as soft on first nosing from the bottle, with a sugary element. In the glass, it reminds me more than anything of a nice, gentle Speyside whisky, somewhere between Glenfiddich and Aberlour. It smells soft and fruity, with green apples and lemon icing. Also licorice. Occasionally I get a whiff of peat, which is confirmed when you smell the empty glass. It is definitely easy on the nose.
The body of the whisky is thick and honied. Fruit and licorice are at the front of the flavour, backed up by dry oak. It feels thick and mature. The development of flavour from soft and sweet to crisp and dry is very well-balanced. The finish is not particularly long, but a light peat flavour remains when the oak is gone.
Overall, this is the most subtle and least distinct of the three Japanese whiskies I've tried. It is what I like to call "dangerously drinkable," yet the body and taste are rich enough to encourage slow sipping. Fans of more robust whisky might find it too soft. Those who appreciate a tasty, balanced Speysider should enjoy it.