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Nikka Taketsuru Pure Malt 17 Year Old Blended Malt Japanese Whisky (700ml)
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- ABV 43%
Whisky is big business in Japan with Scotch whisky being especially popular, yet with their own history of brewing and sake production, it's only logical that the Japanese are now making whisky too. What began as a conscious imitation of Scotch, now has a style all of its own, and since commercial production began in the early 20th century, the quality has been steadily improving.
Today, most of the malt whisky produced in Japan is for blending but Japanese distillers generally don't trade casks in the manner that Scottish distillers do. Consequently, it's up to each distillery to produce a diversity of styles that will form the base components of 'house blends' that offer unique and complex flavour profiles. Some Japanese blends will even include a percentage of Scotch whisky, rather than whisky from rival local distillers. This jealous reluctance to exchange whiskies is considered one of the major obstacles holding the industry back from the prominence it deserves: In a number of blind tastings recently organised by Whisky Magazine, which have included Japanese single malts in the lineup along with malts from distilleries considered to be among the best in Scotland, on more than one occasion, the results have had Japanese single malts scoring higher than their Scotch counterparts.
Nikka's range of blended, pure malt and single malt whiskies will be exciting new discoveries for any Whisky enthusiast. This 17 Year Old bottling is dedicated to the Father of the Japanese Whisky Industry, Masataka Takesuru.
The Tale of Masataka Taketsuru's life is of the same fabric legends are made of. Sent in 1918 as young apprentice to Scotland by his Japanese employers to crack the secrets of Whisky, he not only came back with that knowledge but also with Rita Taketsuru (nee Cowan), who went on playing a decisive role in the development of the Japanes Whisky industry. Thanks to her connection to Japanese high society, Masataka was able to finance the company that is now known as Nikka Whisky. Forward a century later, TaKetsuru 17 yo is awarded the Best Blended Whisky at the world Whisky awards 2012, a fitting crown for this blend of Malts from the 2 Nikka distilleries, Yoichi and Miyagikyo.
Tasting note: Firm oak, but compromises sufficiently to allow several layers of malt to battle through with a touch of peat-coffee. Massive, a toasted, honeyed front gives way to really intense and complex malt notes. Superb finish. some late marmalade arrives from somewhere, the toast is slightly burnt but the waves of malty complexity are endless. Not a whisky for the squeamish. This is big stuff – about as big as it gets without peat or rye. No bar shelf or whisky club should be without this one. 43% Alc./Vol.
Rating: 89 points - Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible - 2009