Nikka Taketsuru Pure Malt

Despite being originally brewed for Japanese palates, subtly flavourful Nikka Pure Malt has found a global audience.

The Japanese have known for generations what it takes to make a quality malt whisky. In recent years however, Japanese whisky has exploded onto the world spirits scene and achieved a level of popularity that distilleries did not anticipate and have at times struggled to keep up with. Yet this popularity means that the rest of the world has a chance to learn how the Japanese have mastered the craft of whisky making, and to taste what is now considered some of the world’s best whisky. Since Nikka Taketsuru Pure Malt’s release at LCBO stores in 2016, it has provided fierce competition for some of the more established whiskies on the shelf.

Nikka Taketsuru Pure Malt takes its name from the founder of Nikka Whisky Co., Masataka Taketsuru. After moving to Scotland as a young man, Taketsuru enrolled at the University of Glasgow and dedicated his life to the art of whisky making. While a student there, he apprenticed at local distilleries and diligently learned their craft, working his way up to master blender. It was his desire to bring quality whisky to Japan that drove him to master this craft, and his success in doing so led him to be known as the father of Japanese whisky.

Upon his return to Japan, Masataka Taketsuru founded the Nikka Whisky Co. in 1934 in Hokkaido. As the company grew, he built a second distillery in Sendai in 1969 which is now known as the Miyagikyo Distillery, where Nikka Pure Malt is created. The location was chosen because of its similarities with the landscape of Scotland, where Taketsuru honed his whisky-making skills. Taketsuru was impressed by the area’s clean air, its humidity for storing barrels and its peaty terrain with access to plenty of underground water resources—all essential environmental factors for brewing the finest whisky.

Masataka Taketsuru’s desire was to make a light, fruity whisky. This dream is accomplished using the largest pot stills in Japan, with a special shape and a steam-heating process that allows the ingredients to distill slowly, leading to the desirably light and fruity flavour that Taketsuru intended.

While maintaining some similarities with scotch, Japanese whiskies tend toward a more subtle flavour initially intended to appeal to Japanese palates. Nikka Taketsuru Pure Malt’s palate is rich and oily, with subtle fragrances of orange, pear and nutmeg.

A percentage of malt aged in sherry casks contributes to the hint of spice that gently hits the nose. The finish is light and peaty, with notes of citrus and cherry passing over the tongue. Nikka Pure Malt’s flavour makes it ideal for cocktails, while its rich colour makes it an attractive choice as a gift or as an addition to display on your home bar.

Nikka Taketsuru Pure Malt Japanese Whisky | $81.85 

lcbo.com