Today, I’m going to talk a little bit about Nikka Coffey Malt, one of Nikka’s more popular whiskies. Nikka installed Coffey stills in 1963 after the company’s founder, Taketsuru, returned from a tour to Europe to find the best equipment available; in fact, it had been Taketsuru’s dream since his students days in Scotland in the 1910s to have Coffey stills installed.

The first whisky Nikka made and marketed from the Coffey stills was Black Nikka in 1965. Now, perhaps the most popular whisky made using Coffey stills is the Nikka Coffey Malt.

Today, Coffey stills are almost non-existent because they are very old (first appearing in 1830), time-consuming to operate, and inefficient compared to more modern stills. The stills leave a high amount of oil content and the barley becomes stickier than in modern stills, which means they have to be cleaned often. In short: not a fun still to work with.

Nevertheless, Nikka continues to use Coffey stills. Why? Because despite all the work involved, Coffey stills really give an excellent whisky, and making genuine, quality whisky is what Nikka is all about. The usage of Coffey stills is a perfect example of the passion and work ethic of Japanese whisky makers — you could even say you can taste the passion in Coffey Malt, which has a following both in Japan and worldwide.

So let’s make a cocktail with Nikka Coffey Malt! This recipe comes straight from the homepage of Nikka whisky:

Take a glass and add one sugar cube

Add 3 dashes of Angostura bitters

Pour 60ml of Nikka Coffey Malt into the glass

Finish by adding orange peel and enjoy!

Henry Baldvin