Nikka, From the Barrel 51.4%

Japanese whisky is an mystery wrapped up in an enigma to me. I have never understood the clamor for it, certainly not the insane prices Japanese whisky sells for.

I’ve always found Japanese whisky pleasant but rather dull, I’ve had a handful now and much like Japanese cars they are comfy, reliable and were, when I bought a few bottles, reasonably priced. But that’s all out the window now, I bought two bottles of Hakushu 12 year old around eighteen months ago for forty quid a bottle, they now retail for over a hundred where you can find them, any aged statement Japanese whisky is now insane price wise, it’s the whole supply and demand thing, there just isn’t enough of it about, although I suspect there is loads of it, lying about in collections all over the world, I recently sold a couple of bottles at auction and there is no fucking way on Earth people are paying that much money to actually drink it, that’s it now, it’s become an investment vehicle first and foremost.

Yet I hear I sit with what can only be described as Rocking Horse shit in terms of Japanese whisky, except, it’s not, it’s not remotely rare or hard to get hold of, this is available pretty much everywhere and for, in terms of Japanese whisky, buttons.

For under forty pounds, forty pounds, you can get a 50cl bottle of Nikka from the barrel, a cask strength 51.4% whopper bursting with flavour.

I have a bottle of this but for some shameless promotion I also had a dram of this in my Drinks by the Dram Advent Calendar.

As this is over 50% I always take a drop of water with this but it’s actually very pleasant neat, it also likes half an hour in the glass.

Nose. A waxy fruitful affair, pears, toffee apples, salted caramel sauce, whipped cream, vanilla and leather polish, lots of nuts, Brazil nut, walnut, coffee cake.

Palate. Deep rich sticky toffee pudding, very mild coffee, touch of clove and crushed black pepper, touch of oak, maple syrup and finally a hint of apple sauce.

Finish. Glorious, long, sweet, rich and waxy, like natural raw honey over a hot scone.

Nothing not to like here, if you’re looking for a Japanese whisky you can actually afford to open then this is my number one choice.

The Captain.


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