6 products

Nikka Key Series - 55% ABV Distillery Exclusives

If you've been wanting to up the ante and get closer to the 'real' taste of 100% Japanese whisky with no imported additives, this is a perfect opportunity. Usually only sold at the distillery as annual limited editions and reported to be discontinued, the 'Key Malts' series lands at a uniform 55% which is considered close enough to cask strength. At the time of writing, prices vary dramatically. In Australia, it's not unusual to pay $350 + (if you can find them). Two distilleries feature: Yoichi was set up by founder, Masataka Taketsuru on Japan's northern most island after he left Suntory in 1934. He chose Hokkaido because the climatic conditions reminded him of Scotland where he’d first studied whisky making. The house style is typically rich, peaty and masculine, acquiring a distinct aroma and body from direct heated distillation using a finely powdered coal - a traditional method that's hardly used today, even in Scotland. Miyagikyo is Nikka’s second distillery, established 1969. Some commentators still refer to it as Sendai, which was its name before Asahi took control of Nikka in 2001. Taketsuru's intention was to expand the variety of malts available for his blends, so from the outset, the aim was to build the polar opposite of Yoichi. He sited Miyagikyo partly because the Hirosegawa and Nikkagawa rivers deliver a high-quality water supply. That combined with Miyagikyo’s different natural environment and the use of steam heat distillation, as opposed to coal and direct flame, results in a malt with a relatively mild and fruity character compared to the more powerful style of its sister distillery. Pot stills at Miyagikyo are considerably bigger too, and include boil balls along with an upward sloping lyne arm. This all contributes to a considerable amount of copper contact, stripping out the heavier compounds and leaving a delicate style of new make. Finally, more unpeated and lightly peated barley is utilised at Miyagikyo, with the majority imported from Scotland. At this stage we do not expect that we’ll be able to repeat this offer. We anticipate future availability will be via private collections only.