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Taketsuru San is a legend. He worked in Scotland during the early part of the 20th century at Longmorn and then at Hazelburn all the while carefully plotting a plan that would take the whisky world by storm.
He went back to Japan armed with whisky making knowledge and a Scottish wife (of no relevance to this review by the way) and began work at Kotobukiya (which would later become Suntory). Then in 1934 he decided to open up his own distillery and chose Yoichi on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaid?. He believed that this part of the country most resembled Scotland.
This distillery would be named Nikka.
This pure 2013 pure malt is a homage to the great man who is responsible for some of my finest moments in whisky drinking. This blend also has the distinction of winning the 2014 World Whiskies Award for Best Blend. Not that I give a toss about whisky awards.
Nose: The sherry influence is is obvious. Dark honey and marmalade fig jam on slightly burnt toast. There is a touch of fresh mint and almonds too. It gets fruitier over time with pears and red berries. All this against a backdrop of decadent oaky chocolate cake.
Palate: Rich. Robust. Creamy. Unmistakable sherry raisins and chocolate maple. The black coffee peppers bring the spice while the ripe sultanas add a touch of fruit.
Finish: Spicy date on autumn leaves.
This is quite a bold whisky and unashamed of it's flavors. I'd love to see a cask strength version of this.
Nikka, are you reading this?