Review: Nikka Pure Malt Black

Nikka Black

Nikka Pure Malt Black

We haven’t looked at a Japanese whisky for a while (and with the way prices are going it might be a while before the next one…) so here’s a good one. This is a blend of malts from the Yoichi and Miyagikyo distilleries – as the name suggests this doesn’t contain any grain whisky as blends tend to do.

Nose: Look up ‘Japanese Coffee Candy’ because a) it’s delicious and b) it smells exactly like this whisky. There’s also some sweet peat and light smoke, with some subtle clove spice. Quite a lot of fruitiness going on, with more lemon notes coming to the fore with time. Behind all that there’s a background savoury umami quality to be found – maybe dried mushrooms? Really lovely in any case.
Taste: A bit peatier than you might expect. It’s chewy and oily in the mouth, with sherry, coffee and lemon. Lots of sweet and juicy red fruits.
Finish: Quite short and somewhat dry. Dark chocolate and coffee develop more, and then some slight salt and smoke lingers.

I love the coffee that runs right through this whisky, and I think the balancing and blending of sherry and peat is done spectacularly well. What’s also impressive is that it has a distinct individual character – it’s only vaguely reminiscent of a few Scotch whiskies, and doesn’t suffer unduly from the comparison. It does suffer, however, from a weak-ish finish, but you can forgive that when everything else works a treat.

I almost didn’t get a picture of this before it all disappeared, and while – in my defence – it is only a small bottle, I still think you can take that as a solid recommendation.

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