The Blend of Nikka Malt Base Whisky Review

on Apr 13 in Blended Japanese, Blended whisky by dan

nikka review photo
The Nikka Distilling Co. Ltd produce this blended whisky from the recently troubled Japan who just had their third large earth quake. WhiskyTimes contributor James has bought a bottle of the “SPIRIT OF UNITY Blended Malt” and we encourage you to do so to until it is sold out.

However, now for something completely different… How about a whisky battle? Cheap Scotch Blended vs Nikka Blended Whisky.

Now there is a little red devil sitting on my shoulder (no, not the RAF display team type) saying “Blended whisky is inferior.” and “you are not going to enjoy this.” so it is going to be an uphill battle to even enjoy this one never mind TWO blended whiskies in one day.

A little about Nikka malt base whisky

Nikka whisky review

Based in Tokyo Nikka do have a English language website with a wonderfully retro feel to it. This is what they have to say:

This luxurious blended whisky is made with malt as it’s primary ingredient. Using malt whisky rather than grain whisky as a base has allowed Nikka to create a blended whisky with the distinctive character found in malt-only whiskies. This whisky gives drinkers both the unique attributes of malt whisky, such as nose and palate, and the smooth drinkability of grain whisky.

So Nikka malt base whisky is made from a blend of grain and malt influences. The Japanese are so often so good at design I am hoping this is a crazy experiment that has gone right.

The Nikka malt base bottle

The bottle reminds me more of a perfume bottle than a whisky bottle but hey I think it looks classy too. Opening it feels like you are unwrapping something special, I reckon I will keep the bottle for a long time after drinking the contents…. That is untill I realise it is a screwtop :S

The generic Scotch blended.

To get a little perspective on the Nikka malt base whisky I’ve employed a ‘cheapo’ blended scotch whisky. The brand and name doesn’t really matter as all I am using it for is a benchmark really, I am not so familiar with the blended stuff so now I have a guide.

Anyway on with the Nikka whisky review

Nikka nose: surprisingly floral with a Speyside feel to the nose, fudgy, syrupy, buttercups with candy rock insides, almost rum notes and cereal. Damn I can’t wait to tuck in like an excited kid in a sweet shop. I’ve nosed it so much I got a head spin!

Scotch blended nose: Much darker and less floral, less variety of smells but a stronger fuller smell too. It is slightly sour with a bit of a heavier sweetness including liquorice. Compairitvly it is much more earthy . It is also a bit of a one trick pony on the nose, not to say it isn’t a nice smell. At 40% it certainly doesn’t strip your nose.

Nikka Taste Review

Oh boy I can’t wait after that nose… please don’t let me down Nikka!

First impressions: Slightly stinging booze tingles on the tongue, and a complete suprise wave of peat and wood comes at the end. None of the sweetness makes it through the booze in a meaning full way beacuse of the boozy opening which races into a peaty burnt wood finish as soon as you swallow it, which is medium long. Put some water in there to water down the boozyness and you expose some of those missing sweet notes and you get the taste of candy rock insides leading into the peaty wood flavours.

Knowing when to use water is important and this is one of those times.

Overall it is pretty plain with a bit nice peaty finish which mellows into a faded shadow of the sweet nose. I just wish it was even half as delicious as the nose.

The Blended Scotch Review

To say ‘yeuregh’… would be a bit childish, but it’s certainly not a pleasant experience. But then again maybe I am too used to my single malt, and this was VERY cheap.

The lower strength scotch is slightly smoother but also is a bit duller and the finish flavours of mouldy wood and are a bit nasty. If the Nikka was a spot light of brightness the Scotch would be a AA Maglite.

Maybe that’s just a personal preference, but regardless I remain yet to be converted to a ‘no age’ blended whisky. Though I am open to any and all whiskies who want to convince me otherwise. Out of the two… for my money… I would go with the Nikka with some water, but I would always be disappointed the taste doesn’t live up to the smell.

A good replacement for either of these would be a 10 year old Crangnmore for the smoothness of Scotch and the nose of the Nikka malt base.

Happy Dramming!

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