Hitting U.S. shelves and backbars this autumn, The Nikka Whisky Distilling Company and U.S. importer Anchor Distilling Company introduce two new expressions that reflect the celebrated Japanese whisky company’s acclaimed distilleries: Yoichi Single Malt and Miyagikyo Single Malt, both non-age statement whiskies, each reflecting the unique characters of the respective distilleries – Yoichi, located on the northernmost island of Hokkaido, and Miyagikyo, near Sendai located in the northern part of main island, Honshu.
Considered the founding father of Japanese whisky, Masataka Taketsuru opened his first distillery, Yoichi, in 1934, located where the environs most closely resemble Scotland’s coastal distilleries, which offers briny flavor characteristics, and direct coal distillation with small pot stills is used to hark back to Scotland’s whisky production traditions, as studied by Taketsuru in 1918. Nikka’s second distillery, Miyagikyo, opened in 1969, is located in a river valley, thereby emulating the distilleries found in Scotland’s Speyside region; it employs indirect steam distillation and larger copper pot stills.
Miyagikyo Single Malt is distilled from 100% malted barley. Slightly peated with Sherry Cask influence. Aged in New American Oak, Ex-Bourbon Oak, Sherry Casks and many others, with the Sherry Casks providing a dominant flavor component. Notes of fruit and rich malts due to specifically selected yeasts.
Yoichi Single Malt is distilled from 100% malted barley. Portions of heavily peated malt aged in New American Oak, Sherry Casks and a variety of casks coopered in the Nikka cooperages. The terroir of the distillery introduces brininess from the ocean breeze.
Nikka Miyagikyo (90 proof)
Visual: Mild gold.
Nose: Notes of dark cherry, slight smoke, sherry cask and blackberry.
Taste: Smooth, round and initially quite fruity, but suddenly a blast of creosote hits, creating a BBQ glaze flavoring. This then softly fades into a dry, salinity which acts as a palate cleanser. Quite the journey.
Finish: Medium long with some of the malty notes making a late entrance.
Overall: Thought provoking, meditative and the kind of whisky that makes you contemplate.
GSN Rating: A
Nikka Yoichi (90 proof)
Visual: Light gold.
Nose: Dark, salty malt with a wood smoke patina finished with bright sherry.
Taste: Warm, sweet malt with just the right amount of peat smoke balanced by a sea salt briskness. A touch of water brings out more delicate shades of dried apricot and Fuji apple.
Finish: Medium long with a lasting sweetness with a gentle kiss of peat.
Overall: Really well done and exceptionally blended. One of the finest Nikka whiskies I’ve had the pleasure of tasting. World class.
GSN Rating: A++
For more information go to: Nikka