Nikka Miyagikyou 12

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Distillery/Brand: Nikka Miyagikyou
Region: Japan
ABV: 45%
Colour: Young Sauternes

Nose: 23
Taste: 23
Finish: 23
Balance: 23

Review
There is something oddly comforting about opening a Japanese single malt, especially from the power house Nikka, because you know you’re always in for a treat. And this entry level 12 is a must have on any shelf.

The warm chocolate Christmas cake sets the tone for a complex nosing experience. First come the dried figs and raisins with a healthy drop of vanilla. Juicy fruits are next in the shape of pears. Let it catch it’s breath and in come salty wild red berries and a handful of almonds. A very complex nose on a relatively young malt.

The full-bodied spirit cascades in with luscious chocolate, black peppercorns and candied orange. Chew it for a while (you will want to, believe me!) to welcome red grapes and hazelnuts in a swirl of sticky toffee.

The distinct aftertaste has a curious ‘twang’ to it. Not too oily, not too dry, it ends with lovely citrus and mint.

Just another malt that re-affirms my faith in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Rating: 92

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Nikka Miyagikyou 15

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Distillery/Brand: Nikka Miyagikyou
Region: Japan
ABV: 45%
Colour: Gold

Nose: 22
Taste: 22
Finish: 22
Balance: 22

Review
This particular 15 year old was sampled fresh on the heels of it’s magnificent younger brother the 12 and so expectations were high. Add to that the reputation Nikka brings with it and you can imagine the burden on it’s young shoulders.

The nose is not bad. It’s not magnificent, mind you, but then everything can’t be hit out of the park all the time. There is woody brown sugar syrup mixed in with sweet melon followed by a drizzle of balsamic vinegar on nectarines. Quite interesting.

The palate is aggressive and reminded me of pancakes smothered liberally with woody maple syrup, dark chocolate and cinnamon.

The dry finish is spicy and full of cloves.

This is not a bad malt by any standards. It is a touch brash, in my opinion, and I wish it held it’s poise like it’s 12 year old sibling.

Rating: 88