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.
The Nikka Taketsuru Pure Malt series was released in honour of the founding father of Japanese whisky and the Nikka Whisky Co, Masataka Taketsuru. A true visionary and pioneer of the whisky industry in Japan, he learned his trade working in Scottish whisky distilleries in the early part of the 20th Century before returning to Japan in 1920 to put the skills he had learned into practice. He opened his first distillery Yoichi in 1934 and his second, Miyagikyo, in 1969.
Each expression in the Taketsuru series is a precise blend of malt whiskies, combining the strong, peaty character of the Yoichi malts with the elegance and fruitiness of malts produced at the Miyagikyo distillery. As the flagship Nikka blend in Japan, the Taketsuru series is composed of only the finest quality malts from each distillery, befitting of the founding father of the business.
Taketsuru would no doubt be very proud to know that the whiskies that bear his name have gained a huge following in Europe, the land where his story began.
Released in 2014, this no-age-statement Taketsuru bottling is a blend of malts aged for an average of 10 years in different types of oak cask. A high percentage of Miyagikyo malt gives a fresh fruity character, joined by mature aromas from an important sherry-cask influence.
Very clean and fruity, with aromatic notes of stewed berry fruits and rich honey. Rich burst of fruit and spice. Quite soft in the mouth initially, then clove and cinnamon kick in, adding depth, while the fruit develops into cherry menthol and stewed berry fruit. Very approachable. The fruit is the dominant note, outlasting the spiciness and toasty-oak notes.