It’s the second day of our 12 Day Christmas Countdown leading us right up to the big event when we’ll hopefully wake in the morning to many bottle shaped gifts under the tree. Today, we’re looking at some of the year’s best limited edition releases from one of the finest whisky producers in the whole of Japan, Nikka Whisky.
This year has been a busy one for Nikka – they’ve released many excellent expressions but there are 6 in particular that stand out to us here at dekanta. These whiskies are all limited editions that were released for the European market and they explore the effects of different cask types on top quality spirit.
They are perfect for the beginner to learn from and pick up the traits of these varying woods but at the same time they offer the expert something quite complex and unique to be explored. Without further ado, let’s get into them.
Three Yoichis and Three Miyagikyos
The six releases we’ll be gaining an understanding of today come from two of Nikka’s best distilleries, Yoichi and Miyagikyo. The Japanese drinks giant and whisky producer took single malt whisky from both distilleries and finished it in sherry wood, bourbon casks and finally, Manzanilla wood.
The range of effects and indeed the differing effects that the casks have had on the spirit from each distillery is astounding and quite educational. Tasting each and everyone of them is like taking a masterclass in wood management, as they have all managed to effect the spirit in entirely different ways.
The bourbon finish for example, has amplified the flavours already present in the Yoichi spirit. Fresh fruits, melon, milk chocolate and a sweet creaminess are all bigger and bolder than you would normally expect. The peat smoke the distillery is famous for remains light and gentle in the background but each of the other notes on offer feels like it’s been in the gym pumping iron rather than taking any direct influence from a bourbon barrel.
On the other hand, the Miyagikyo has far more bourbon influence. A variety of gentle, peppery spices have been added to the liquid as well swaths of creamy vanilla and caramel.
The floral Miyagikyo spirit remains apparent and can easily be detected by the trained nose but the finish seems to have brought more of itself to this whisky and that is by no means a bad thing. It allows us to experience the full effects of the wood, but what’s more, if you taste this and the Yoichi side by side, you’ll be able to develop a deeper understanding of the different ways in which ex-bourbon casks can affect whisky.
The same goes for the sherry and the manzanilla.
The Yoichi Sherry Finish is chewy, full and a little dry with that rich, fruity and juicy spirit being oppressed by the sherried fruits, sticky dates, sticky toffee and a certain nuttiness.
The sherried Miyagikyo is all-together more fresh, floral and brings bursts of rich red berries, hints of caramel and just a slight peppery spice at the end.
Once again, this an example of the same type of cask having two entirely different effects on quality whisky and we think that is something that is a joy to explore.
It would be fair to say that the effects of the Manzanilla wood hold more similarities than the other two, with tropical fruits and a deep richness coming from the cask, but it has left an intriguingly pleasant bitterness on the Miyagikyo, something that is not so apparent with the Yoichi.
Fine Examples of Japanese Whisky
It is these differences in the effects that the casks have had on the whisky, combined with the excellently crafted spirit from each distillery, that make this series of bottlings so exciting. They allow us to delve into the effects of each finish, studying them and learning from them along the way and opens our eyes to the millions of flavour compounds that are possible in the world of whisky.
Importantly, they’re also delicious and fine examples of quality Japanese whisky from Nikka. It’s a series of releases that doesn’t really have many flaws and brings a lot to the table and that’s why it deserves its spot in our Christmas Countdown 2018!
For Today Only You Can Get 10% Off the Nikka Wood Finish Limited Editions with Promo Code – “Countdown”