Nikka from the Barrel

ABV:   51.4% ABV

Price:  £41 (50cl)

Nikka distillery

Japanese whisky producer Nikka was founded in 1934 and has become Japan's second largest distiller, producing a large range of single malts and blended whiskies between its two distilleries - Yoichi and Miyagikyo.

The blend combines both single malt and grain whiskies from the Miyagikyo and Yoichi distilleries, which are then married in a huge variety of casks, including bourbon barrels, sherry butts and refill hogsheads.

Masataka Taketsuru, - the founder of Nikka and father of Japanese whisky. 24yo came to Scotland to learn the art of distilling and worked in a number of Scottish distilleries.

He enrolled at the University of Glasgow, took chemistry courses and then apprenticed at three Scotch distilleries. The young and passionate man was fortunate to learn first-hand from craftsmen and have practical trainings to master blending. The two notebooks filled with every detail later became Japan’s very first guide in whisky production.

Helped design the Yamasaki distillery

Bottle = ‘small block of whisky’!

Blend of more than 100 malt and grain whiskies ; full array of casks—bourbon barrels, sherry butts, refill hogsheads, and more!! The whisky is “married” in oak casks for a couple of months, and then watered to a consistent 51.4% ABV, before bottling.

“From the Barrel” suggests barrel proof, but that’s not the case. The blenders made a conscious decision to bottle at 51.4% (derived from 90 British Proof) to deliver maximum flavor impact.


NOSE: Clean and crisp with hints of candied cherries, sherry sweetness, vanilla, and it smells like I am walking through a Japanese Pine Forest. Bits of banana, lots of oak and spicy cinnamon. The whisky needs to breathe a bit for the alcohol to disappear.

PALATE: powerful but much smoother than you would expect.. Big and bold with some alcohol bite. Oak, caramel, fruit with hints of vanilla and sweet paprika. Citrus notes that border on pectin with strong alcohol notes. Not as smooth as other expressions and somewhat one dimensional on the tongue.

It needs quite a few drops of water to tame the alcohol. Water brings more sweetness to the forefront and tames the pectin notes a bit.

FINISH: Crisp with notes of fruit and oakiness, hints of pepper and caramel.

WATER – warm smooth butter cream vanilla