Nikka Whisky is finally making its way to the US. It is projected that the whisky will be launched some time in November of this year through Anchor Distilling Co. here in San Francisco. Most people have already heard, but I think that it is worth mentioning here as it is very significant not only in terms of Japanese whisky but all whisky. I am always bitching and moaning about how we barely get any Japanese whisky here – there are really only four expressions available from Suntory right now (Yamazaki 12, 18, Hakushu 12 and Hibiki 12). This is a mere sliver of the total expressions that Japanese distillers actually produce. I am ecstatic that Nikka will now finally be launched here to add to the selection of Japanese malts. Initially Nikka is releasing the Taketsuru 12 (a pure malt) and the Yoichi 15. If you are not familiar with Nikka Whisky, we posted a quick history here. I was also lucky enough to visit the Yoichi distillery and posted by experiences here.
Unfortunately I don’t have any of the Taketsuru 12 or Yoichi 15 around right now to sample but I did have the Yoichi 12:
Color: Medium brown/copper
Nose: Text book Yoichi – coastal, smoke, rutty, earthy and musky, some light apple hiding underneath it all, a sweet and dark baking spice mixture, pumpkin bread, wisps of eucalyptus and menthol.
Palate: Briney, decomposing vegetation, surprising alcohol prickliness (for 45%ABV) but not overwhelming, mushrooms, peat, muskiness is very evident, slightly ashy, the malt starts to make its presence known towards the end, some sweet spiced bread/cake, oily. With water it gets sweeter and loses some of the mouth-feel, cleaner and not as rutty.
Finish: Medium, ash, dark spices.
This is one of my favorite whiskies. If it was available here it would be one of my favorite everyday sippers. It is not as big as the Yoichi 15 but it holds its own and is at a lot better price point. I believe it was less than $50 last time I got a bottle at duty free in Narita.