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Nikka Whisky From The Barrel

Nikka Whisky From The Barrel

Tasting Date: 2021-03-24

Region: Japanese Whisky

Type: Blended – This product does not meet all the criteria of “Japanese whisky “ defined by the Japan Spirits & Liqueur Makers Association.

Age Statement: NAS

Size: 500ml

ABV: 51.4% ABV

Cask Type: A huge variety of casks are used, including Bourbon barrels, Sherry butts and refilled hogsheads.

Distiller: Malt whisky from the Miyagikyo distillery and Grain whisky from the Yoichi distilleries.

Location: Japan, 046-0003 Hokkaido, Yoichi District, Yoichi, Kurokawacho, 7 Chome

Bottler: Nikka Distillery

Purchase Location: Wine and Beyond Southgate, 11011 51 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T6H 5T1

Purchase Date: March 21, 2021

Cost: ~$69.00 it was a gift from my oldest kids

Tasting Notes From The Nikka Website:

There are none. Close as they get to talking about how it tastes, is this line about how they “aim to deliver full flavors and richness of whisky like “from the barrel”, which only blenders can sniff and taste.”

[Edit] I did find this on their European Website after I wrote this article.

NOSE: Refined and complex. Floral (lilac), fruity (apricot), spicy (clove) and leathery.
PALATE: Powerful, firm. Spicy (pepper), oaky flavours evolving on ripe fruits (peach), caramelised apples and flowers (honeysuckle).
FINISH: Long and complex. Ripe fruits (prune, peach) on a background of oak-infused vanilla notes.

Colour: Copper with gold hue.

TransparentSmoke Review: OK, so I’m on my own with this one, no official “it tastes like this” list of flavours and smells from their Japanese website. Before we get to what I think, let’s address the elephant in the room. As of February 16 2021, this is no longer allowed to be called a “Japanese Whisky”. I read the new Japanese whisky rules and it looks like Nikka Whisky From The Barrel could be breaking the new rules on multiple fronts.

Nikka Whisky From The Barrel is made from both single malt and grain whisky of indeterminate age. The new rules says it needs to be at least 3 years old. Also, because it is made from blending “100 different batches” of whiskies made “in house and over seas” there is no guarantee it all came from product made in Japan. The new rules say to be called “Japanese Whisky” it all must all come from Japan. The new rules also state whisky must be made in casks of less than 700 litres and finally the new rules state only “plain caramel colouring” can be used.

We can’t be sure which rules they actually broke unless they own up to it, it had to be a hard blow for the company seeing as they have been making Nikka Whisky From The Barrel since 1985 and it is on this bottles’ back that so many Japanese whiskies have found world renown.

My tasting notes:

NOSE: Banana and Butter (But not quite Banana Bread) and Caramel and Ethanol
PALATE: Hint of Smoke and Oak that you couldn’t smell and then Caramel. But I spend most of my time amazed at the chest burn and warmth that pervades my being.
FINISH: Ethanol burn and bitterness. Amazed that this blend keeps me refilling my glass to figure out what I can find next. Also amazed that it almost always results in the same experience, but I keep trying anyway.

Final piece of interesting lore: Nikka just started selling this in the United States, in 2018, as it turns out 500ml is not a legal alcohol distribution size in the USA. They had to up size of the bottles to 750ml bottles. Legal US sizes are 50 ml, 100 ml, 200 ml, 375 ml, 750 ml, 1000 ml, and 1750 ml. Which means they miss out on Nikka’s giant 3000ml bottle too.

Our Score: 83/100

Bottles on Hand: