The Nikka company was set up by one of the Godfathers of Japanese Whisky, Masataka Taketsuru. Masataka was an organic chemist and was the first Japanese man to learn to make whisky in Scotland studying at Hazelburn distillery in Campbell Town. Nikka is now one of the Japanese great producers, making a range whiskies and other spirits in two distilleries, Yoichi situated in the North Island of Hokkaido and Miyagikyo distillery in Aoba-ku, Sendai.
The Coffey still is the world's first patented continuous still invented by Aeneas Coffey in 1830. While Masataka Taketsuru was staying in Scotland, he had an opportunity to learn how to distil grain whisky in a Coffey still first-hand from craftsmen at James Calder in Bo'ness in 1919. Masataka valued the feature of this type of still and installed two sets of Coffey stills after he established Nikka Whisky. The first still was imported from Scotland to Japan in 1963, followed by the second still in 1966. These traditional Coffey stills are not easy to operate and not efficient to obtain spirits. However, they retain flavours originating from ingredients and deliver a distinctive creamy texture.
Coffey Grain is predominantly made from corn, distilled in a Coffey still then matured in old casks such as re-filled, remade and re-charred casks originally made from American oak to deliver the sweet and mellow flavours of Coffey distillates.
Nose: Very aromatic, with heady notes of tropical fruit bursting out of the glass. Plenty of juicy candied fruit, mango and coconut.
Palate: The rich tropical fruit continues on to the palate, along with caramel, toffee and vanilla from the cask. Very fruity and accessible.
Finish: The fruitiness combines beautifully with the toasty oak notes.