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 HokkaidÅ and Miyagikyo distillery in Aoba-ku, Sendai.
Miyagikyo distillery is located close to the city of Sendai on the main island of Honshu. The distillery is the larger of the two Nikka distilleries, with an annual production capacity of two million litres. Although much of the whisky produced here is for Nikkaâ€™s house blends, the single malts of Miyagikyo have a cult following and growing reputation among Japanese whisky enthusiasts and have been compared to whiskies from the Speyside region of Scotland â€“ sweet, fruity and mellow.
Miyagikyo distillery was built in foothills of the Miyagi region within a wide forest valley at the junction of two rivers â€“ the area is renowned for pure air and clean, fresh water. It was these qualities, considered ideal for the production of whisky, which convinced Taketsuru to build his second distillery here after three years of searching. The Miyagikyo distillery was built in 1969, in the heart of this natural environment, from which the whiskies draw their softness, elegance, and purity.
The whisky is produced using less peaty malt and distilled in a pot still heated by indirect steam at a low temperature. Miyagikyo Single Malt has an elegant fruitiness and a distinctive aroma with a strong Sherry cask influence.
Nose Full-flavoured, rich. Initially, concentrated iris notes hint at the extreme intensity of the nose. It then develops aromas of malted barley, exotic fruit (banana), liquorice and camphor. Notes of burnt wood and ash progressively settle over the aromatic palette. Long after, white flowers and beeswax make an appearance.
Palate: Firm, lively. Malted barley is at the heart of the palate, coated in herbaceous, liquorice, spiced (ginger, cinnamon) and chocolate tones. Very elegant, the mid-palate also delivers plenty of energy and as it draws to a close, fresh tobacco leaves and coconut intertwine to create a natural symphony of aromas.
Finish: Long, soft. It evokes the scent of wilted roses. Fine tannins balance its tangy character (lemon, grapefruit). It lingers on notes of tobacco, spices (cardamom, ginger), toasted nuts and stewed fruits (apple, damson). The final nose reveals exotic notes (lychee).