Thursday, October 4, 2012

Big Body – Nikka Whisky From The Barrel

Nikka Whisky From The Barrel

Returning to Japanese whisky and the extensive Nikka Family, I first tasted the Nikka Whisky From The Barrel at Whisky Fair Sydney 2011. I loved it so much a couple of months back now I was making an order through Master Of Malt and thought to get my hands on this little catch. 'Little' is certainly the key word here as the bottle is a mear 500ml but big is it's nose and flavour.

The bottle itself is an intriguing item to note in itself. Sporting a brushed aluminium screw cap, squat neck, with defined edges it is A typical Japanese minimal design and simply lovely to look at.

Nikka Whisky From The Barrel
Distillery: Nikka
Location/Region: Japan
Alcohol: 51.4%
Style: Double Matured Blended Whisky

On the nose big fruits, butter and crisp spices with a nice hint of dandelion flowers (my yard is full of them) and or botanicals for a more broader approach. This is a great whisky to nose and wet the whisky appetite.

The taste is quite strong and chewy (at 51.4% this is to be expected) filling every cavity with some extraordinary oaky caramels. A balance nice spice reduces those vanillas enough that it does not become too sweet which at first feels like might happen. Ok so there is a little nail varnish in the mix but nothing to suffer from. After the first sip a lot of those botanicals are erased from the nose as the alcohol really does take over.

Finish is a little harsh at first with heat storming the upper throat before a small fire starts to roar in the chest with tingles returning to the lips.

Overall I think the sharp spiciness and heat gives an excitable balance to the drams intrinsic sweetness. I like to save this one for a more special drink. Delicious and robust.

Short, squat and to the point
Below is the description issued form the Nikka website on this whisky which I feel great understates its properties and quality:

Matured malt whisky and grain whisky are blended and then re-casked (a process known as "marriage") to create a rich harmony of distinctly different whiskies. "From the Barrel" is bottled directly from re-casked barrels of whisky and features almost the same alcohol percentage. At 51.4% alcohol content, this whisky possesses a distinctive personality characterized by solidity, depth of taste and a richly expanding aroma.

I would have to say this is great value for the dollar and a whisky not to be missed if you can get your hands on it. If I was to give a dram then it would be solid 6 out of 7.  If you like the Japanese take on whisky you will love this one.

The Baron