Continuing the international theme, today’s whisky comes from Japan – a country that knows a thing or two about whisky, with Suntory’s Yamazaki Single Malt Shery Cask 2013 grabbing the World’s Best Whisky crown.
Nikka From The Barrel is from the other big distiller in Japan, Nikka. The name suggests that it’s a straight cask bottling, but it’s a little more complicated than that.
Matured malt whisky and grain whisky are blended and then re-casked – although it’s not clear how long the spirit stays in this re-cask. It’s then bottled at cask strength, with a respectable 51.4% ABV.
The strength is very apparent on the nose, with some aggressive alcohol hitting you straight off. Once that’s given some time to dissipate, honey dipped strawberries and cream slowly emerge, with hints of oak below. Watered, the sweetness recedes and the fruit becomes sharper, slightly more citrus.
In the mouth, it’s initially fudge sweet on the tip of your tongue – that’s quickly washed away by peppery heat, rich toasted wood and rum soaked raisins. The finish is long and warming right down to your belly. Water tames some of that power but it remains sweet, rich and darkly fruity with almost a brandy-like aftertaste.
This is a big whisky that packs a powerful punch, and I’m loving it. 4 stars, at least!