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 Hokkaidō 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 Malt is made from 100% malted barley distilled in a Coffey still which is then matured in old casks to enhance the rich maltiness, complexity and a silky texture. This expression is not categorized as “malt whisky” but as “grain whisky” since it is not distilled in a pot still.
Nose: Fruity and spicy, with plenty of sweet spice, refreshing lemon notes and an appealing nuttiness.
Palate 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.
Finish: Perfectly balanced between the fresh citrus, heady spices and toasty oak.