GSN Review: Nikka Coffey Grain Whisky

NikkaCoffe-Grain_750mlNikka can lay claim to being the first Japanese whiskey distillery.  Founded in 1934 by Masataka Taketsuru, the Yoichi distillery produced some of the world’s finest spirits.  With this initial success, the company now has four separate distilleries in Japan and another in Scotland, along with several bottling and aging facilities.

Nikka Coffey Grain Whisky is made at the Miyagikyo plant in Sendai, using a still imported from Scotland in 1963.  The base grain is corn, which adds a bourbon-like sensibility the flavor profile.  If you were thinking that it is flavored with coffee beans, you’d be wrong.  The Coffey in the name refers to the type of column still created by Irishman Aeneas Coffey, who ironically could not get the Irish to embrace his revolutionary product back in 1830.  So, he took his invention elsewhere and now it is employed in virtually every distillery in the world (including pot still holdout Ireland).

Nikka Coffey Grain Whisky (90 proof)
Visual: Pale yellow gold.
Nose: Warm, elegant, and slightly fruity.
Taste: Quite smooth and restrained, yet delivers a rich and perfectly aged flavor.  Notes of vanilla, honey, cinnamon, raspberries and black tea.
Finish: Spicy and masculine, yet there’s an underlying sense of spun sugar and sweet corn.
Overall: Somehow they’ve captured summer in a bottle.  Very well done and a testament to the Nikka company’s devotion to creating high quality products.
GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Anchor Distilling

GSN: Backbar Review – September 16-20, 2013

indexConstellation’s Black Velvet Canadian whisky is launching a new flavor extension, Cinnamon Rush, into national distribution beginning this month. Available in 1-liter, 750-ml. and 50-ml. sizes, Cinnamon Rush is 70%-abv and retails at $12.49 a 750-ml. Constellation says Cinnamon Rush is geared toward the shot occasion—where it will take on Sazerac’s Fireball, Hood River’s SinFire and Brown-Forman’s Early Times Fire Eater, among other cinnamon-flavored brands—as well as cocktails. Cinnamon Rush is joined in the Black Velvet flavor stable by Toasted Caramel, which debuted a year ago.

indexAnchor Distilling is adding four additional Nikka Japanese whisky expressions to its U.S. import lineup. Starting this month, Anchor will add Nikka’s Coffey Grain ($69.99), Miyagikyo Single Malt 12-year-old ($119.99), Taketsuru Pure Malt 17-year-old ($149.99) and Taketsuru Pure Malt 21-year-old ($179.99) to its stable. The four expressions join the brand’s Taketsuru Pure Malt 12-year-old ($69.99) and Yoichi Single Malt 15-year-old labels ($129.99), which joined the Anchor portfolio in November 2012 and quickly sold out following their U.S. launch.

indexKey West, Florida, once a haven for rum smugglers during the Prohibition era, is set to get its first legal distillery with the debut of Chef Distilled, a new craft spirits company. The brainchild of chef and professional kiteboarder Paul Menta, Chef Distilled is located in a 2,500-square-foot former Coca-Cola bottling plant and plans to begin operations early next month. Menta says initial production will be around eight to 10 110-bottle batches a week. Chef Distilled’s first offering will be a white rum called Legal Rum (around $22), which will initially be available in the South Florida market, handled by Opici Family Distributing. Menta hopes to start shipping to retail by November.  Offshoots currently being considered include vanilla crème brûlée and Spanish lime infusions, and Menta is also planning on launching a “raw” rum bottled straight from the still, as well as a barrel-aged offering.

Woodford-Reserve-2013-Masters-Collection-217x300Brown-Forman’s Woodford Reserve Bourbon brand is releasing a pair of limited edition malt whiskies as part of its Master’s Collection series this November. Known as The Double Malt Selections, the pair—said to be the first fully matured whiskies crafted from malt in Kentucky since Prohibition—include a Straight Malt whiskey matured in new barrels and a Classic Malt whiskey aged in used barrels, offering consumers the opportunity to compare the two aging methods. The individually numbered whiskies are both bottled at 90.4-proof, priced at $99.99 a 750-ml., and will be released in major U.S. metro markets and select international locations.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily.