Masataka Taketsuru is the father of Japanese whisky. His family owned a sake brewery that dated to 1733. Taketsuru was taught early that sake-making is a painstakingly fine art and he studied diligently, training as a chemist and preparing to carry on the family trade. However, it was Scotch whisky that captured the young man"„¢s imagination and he decided to dedicate his life to it. In 1918, Taketsuru travelled to Scotland, where he learnt the secrets of whisky-making and met his wife Rita who would be the source of his inspiration when creating whisky in Japan.
In 1920, Taketsuru returned to Japan and joined Kotobukiya, a spirits company, to produce the first Japanese whisky. It soon became apparent that to produce whisky the way he felt it should be made, he would have to become independent. In 1934, he established Nikka Whisky and built its first whisky distillery called Yoichi on the island of Hokkaido. This location was chosen as he had always considered it to be ideal for whisky production. The Yoichi distillery produces coastal and delicately peated whiskies, supported by perfectly balanced oak maturation.
Taketsuru"„¢s growing success allowed him to establish a second distillery, Miyagikyo, in 1969 on the main island of Honshu. Miyagikyo distillery, in contrast to Yoichi, produces rich, fruity and elegant whiskies.
In the decades since, Nikka Whisky has become a fixture in Japan and throughout Europe, known for its passion for craftsmanship, quality and flavour. Masataka Taketsuru passed away just 10 years after the construction of Miyagikyo, at the age of 85. He forever remains the founding father of Japanese whisky, and to this day, Taketsuru"„¢s spirit continues to live on through the Nikka blending team, whose quest for excellence in Nikka whiskies perpetuates his memory.
On 2 July 2014, The Nikka Whisky Co celebrated its 80th anniversary and today its whiskies are multi-award winning, having won more than 30 leading industry awards in recent years.
Innovation runs through the very heart of Nikka and nowhere is this better demonstrated than in The Coffey Series. At the Miyagikyo distillery, two Coffey stills exist for the production of grain whiskies, the product of which was previously destined to end up solely in Nikka"„¢s house blends. The Coffey still is a type of continuous still designed and patented by Aeneas Coffey in the 1830s. Imported from a distillery in Scotland in 1963, these stills yield a distillate with more flavour and depth than modern column stills, imparting a distinct character that defines the Nikka blends. The two unique Nikka Coffey expressions are the most recent additions to the Nikka family and the Coffey Malt was released in 2014 to celebrate the 80th anniversary of Nikka and showcase the innovative spirit of the brand.
Coffey Grain offers the opportunity to taste an essential component of the famous Nikka blends, including Nikka from the Barrel. Coffey Malt is a truly unique whisky, produced using a Coffey still but made exclusively from malted barley, a grain type that is usually reserved for the more traditional copper pot still in whisky production.
The Nikka Coffey Malt is the result of a unique distillation process in Coffey stills, which are normally used for grain whisky production. This rare 100% malt bottling offers a surprisingly rich texture and wonderful depth of flavour.
Fruity and spicy, with plenty of sweet spice, refreshing lemon notes and an appealing nuttiness. Rich and full flavoured. A hefty whack of spice, cinnamon and clove, at first, then joined by notes of dark chocolate and roasted nuts, then a touch of orange lightens the feeling. Perfectly balanced between the fresh citrus, heady spices and toasty oak.