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While I've encountered Nikka on a few occasions, I've yet to sample any of the blended malt they call "Taketsuru", so I had to make it one to try at the Nikka stand. I suspect this will get very popular over the next year; the 21-year version just won world's best blended malt a week previously.
The Taketsuru is, to my mind, decidedly Japanese, and brings back rain-infused forests on hillsides enveloped by the sea. The nose gave me grassy tones, with light wood polish, and hints of esters reminding me of the grain whisky (that I'd had a few moments before, admittedly).
On sipping, this was overtaken by more grungey flavours - red wine, grapes, salt and pepper, and a fair bit of burn. A pleasantly hot day after emerging from the top of the woods.
Hitting the throat, the real forest notes comes out - that lovely vegetal line, delivered in a business-like manner. This gradually resolves into the damp forest floor, a hint of winter flowers, and some sweat.
There's a certain "complex simplicity" to the Taketsuru 17. There range of flavours are delicate, balanced, and reveal themselves in proper order, adding up to a hugely interesting and very enjoyable whisky indeed.
[Whisky Live 2010]