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Taketsuru 17 yo is a blend using malt whiskies matured in Sherry casks for seventeen years or more from both the Miyagikyo and Yoichi distilleries. The term “Pure Malt” indicates that the whisky does not contain any grain whisky. It is named in honour of Masataka Taketsuru, the founder of Nikka, one of the two major Japanese whisky-producing companies.
The nose is quite fruity with honey, vanilla, lemon and banana. At the end there is a touch of smoke, unexpected but welcome. All in all this is a very pleasant nose.
The palate is medium-bodied, smooth and very fruity, too. I detected banana, grapes and caramel, followed by subdued smoke and some pepper.
The finish is medium-long, fruity, dry, and both spicy and peppery at the end.
I liked this very much. It is quite a step from the 12yo that had struck me as being a bit bland (although very drinkable). Taketsuru 17yo has got the complexity that I would expect from a blend and I was particularly impressed with its balance and the really nice nose. Quietly sip this on an evening and you cannot go wrong.