Happy Monday everybody! What better way to kick off the week than by looking at another of our favourite Japanese whiskies. Yesterday we talked about the Taketsuru 17 Year Old – a tremendous blended whisky from Nikka – and if you missed that you can catch up by clicking here.
Today, we’re looking at another fine whisky from Japanese legends Nikka, and once again, it’s not a single malt. In fact, this bottling was recently recategorised as a World Blended whisky after the introduction of new labeling standards in Japan. Nevertheless, it’s a delicious, moreish expression that ranks up with the best non-age-statement whiskies on the market – it’s the Nikka Coffey Malt.
The Famous Coffey Still
When the founder of Nikka and Father of Japanese Whisky, Masataka Taketsuru, visited Scotland in 1919, he learned of the Coffey still – a unique, continuous still invented by Irishman, Aeneas Coffey, in 1830.
Taketsuru was taught how to distill grain whisky in it and he found that the resulting liquid retained flavour incredibly well. When he returned to Japan to start the Japanese whisky industry, he always remembered the Coffey still and it was always in his plans to get one working inside of Japan.
Finally, in 1963, the first Coffey still was imported to Japan, with the second arriving just three years later. Taketsuru immediately put them to work, teaching the machinery’s operations to his distillery workers and experimenting with different malts and grains.
The stills are notoriously hard to operate, and relatively inefficient, so the task of learning how to produce incredible, exciting new whiskies with them would have been a lengthy one. Thankfully, today we have several brilliant bottlings that attest to the fact they did indeed succeed on that endeavor – the Nikka Coffey Grain and, of course, the Nikka Coffey Malt.
The Nikka Coffey Malt was created from a special blend of whiskies all of which have been distilled in the continuous Coffey still. While the exact formula remains a secret, we do know that this whisky contains spirit produced in Japan and also distillates produced in Scotland, at Nikka’s Ben Nevis Distillery, which have then been distilled in the Coffey still on arrival in Japan.
It’s an incredibly smooth and creamy dram, a hallmark of Coffey distilled expressions, and brings an exciting array of notes on the nose, palate and finish.
It brings a gentle nutty aroma with hints of banana and peanut buttered toast, before the palate arrives with sweet vanilla, milk chocolate, cinnamon and pear drops. The finish is deliciously creamy, with sweet and malty notes lingering for some time.
The Nikka Coffey Malt is a stunning whisky that ticks all of the boxes if you’re a fan of a sweet but elegant dram. It’s a testament to Masataka Taketusuru’s willingness to learn and innovate and is a real fan favourite among many of us here at dekanta.
If you’re looking for a whisky at a slightly lower price point and you’re all about the drinking experience, not the age-statement on the bottle, then you really can’t go wrong with this one. An absolute delight.
We’ll Be Back Tomorrow
Thanks for joining us today to look at the Nikka Coffey Malt, we’ll be back tomorrow with another brilliant whisky.