6 July 2012

Nikka Taketsuru 17 " A Japanese Dramming Dream"

Not only have the Japanese grasped and mastered the art of producing superb single malt whisky for the best part of 100 years, they’ve also proved that they know a thing or two about blends. Infact it’s very fair to say that in both categories they produce some of the finest examples in the world.

One of their most notable distillery’s, producing both a selection of sassy and seductive single malts and a bounty of mind blowing blended bottling’s is Nikka.
Since 1934 it has been producing whisky inspired by their distillery founder Masataka Taketsuru’s time in Scotland during the late 1920’s. Where he was not only able to feed his passion for all things whisky but also able to learn all the in’s and out’s to the art of distilling.

In a way of paying homage to Taketsuru, Nikka's current range now includes three blended whiskies named after their founder, in the form of a 12, 17 and 21 year old bottling. These are what would be classed in old money as pure malts or vatted malts, as they’re made using a blend of single malts and not any of their equally delicious grain whisky.

I’ve been dipping in and out of my bottle of the 17 year old for a few months now and I thought it’d only be rude not to review and share my thoughts on this jubilantly joyous drop of Japanese dramarama.

The nose kicks off with wondering and weaving waves of blackberry and apple pie, tinned peaches drenched in syrup and all the raspberry, cream, oat and honey components of a cracking cranachan.

A bitter clash between a few squares of bitter dark chocolate and spoon of Seville orange marmalade then ensues, but it’s not long before they’re both brought into line by the dominant and disciplined presence of some aged wood spice and an accompanying wisp of vivacious velvety vanilla.

Freshly picked verbena leaves, rosemary and ground white pepper make for the next set of nasal offerings, along with swirls of spiced caramel, toasted macadamia nuts a waft of cindering oak.

A blasé blast of furniture polish on a soft leather car interior, a droplet of orange oil and the subtlest possible hint of the coast, then tie up all the proceedings on the nose just perfectly.

The palate which is gloriously gutsy and gung ho, kicks off with crude infused waves of espresso and peat, which soon evolve into something more cigar-esque and dare I say mentholish.

An opulent oaky sextet consisting of aged, spiced, toasted, dry and freshly polished varieties make for the next set of palatable pleasures. Followed by warm pot of blackberry compote, baked peaches and a glug of vanilla infused honey.

A slice of monstrously moorish homemade lemon drizzle cake and a few more squares of that aforementioned bitter dark chocolate then add a further depth of deliciousness to the dramanagins, as does a dried cinnamon stick, a hint of anise and yet more of those macadamias.

Everything on the palate is then brought together beautifully with a spoon of peppery marmalade, hints of burnt caramel and the taste of a damp chewed pencil.

The palate may not linger for as long as you may like, but it does so long enough to provide you with a detailed highlights package of what this bold, brash and balanced beauty has delivered so well on the senses.