Tag Archives: Nikka Whisky

Is The Blog You’re Reading Scotch Centric?

It’s a question I often ask myself after coming across various examples of this particular malaise.

But what is Scotch Centrism?

Tartan specs courtesy zazzle.com

Viewing the whisky world via the optics of tartan spectacles leading to undue bias – intentional or not – towards Scotch, positioning it on a pedestal beyond reproach, usually coupled with scant regard – veering to disdain – for whisky producing countries that aren’t Scotland.

My first encounter with this affliction was a few years ago.

A Scottish internet publication invited non Scottish cities citizens to give a flavour of whisky spots within their environs.

One resident had proclaimed there were no whisky distilleries in this particular location – despite myself having visited one!

The sufferer had such a bad dose of Scotch Centrism they were blinded & unable to see the distilleries operating in their own backyard!

The Scottish publication in turn failed to do any checks & subsequently released this false information.

A more severe example pertains to rules.

Sufferers believe any whisky produced outside of Scotland that doesn’t comply with SWA – Scotch Whisky Association – rules is basically ‘not doing it right’.

Effectively this shows a complete lack of respect for the different ways each country make their own whisky – and verges into cultural imperialism.

Such a position belittles the ‘other’, limits diversity & stifles innovation in the global whisky category.

A final – often milder – example is where the Scotch Centric drinker eventually does get round to sampling a non Scotch whisky & invariably expresses surprise at how enjoyable & well presented it is – often with a hint of patronisation thrown in.

Luckily Scotch Centrism isn’t a permanent condition.

Sufferers merely need to ditch the tartan glasses & open themselves up to a whole new world of enjoyable tastes & flavours.

Treating countries with different rules to those of Scotland with the same respect & having an open mind – and palate – to exploring their produce helps too.

Perhaps then we can learn a bit of ‘kinship, belonging & inclusiveness’ – to borrow an Irish Distillers marketing missive – & ‘Widen The Circle’ along the way when we’re at it.

Sláinte

Tartan glasses courtesy zazzle.com All other images authors own.

A Nikka Whisky Trilogy – All Malt, Blended & Super Old Rare, 40% to 43%

I’m always excited tasting a trio of whisky from the same source to compare & contrast their range.

These Nikka Whisky were purchased from Drams Delivered in Killarney.

Nikka Blended, 40%

No longer listed on the Nikka Whisky website, this blend offered up soft caramel notes with hints of malty depth. A sweet fruity palate with an attractive drying bite on the finish – suggestive of some peat influence.

An attractive easy style of whisky with a touch of character.

Nikka All Malt, 40%

I’ve encountered this unusually packaged & delightful blended malt before – so how will it fare on a 2nd outing?

Hints of old leather on the nose. Soft & smooth palate dries out with a prickly kick on the rear.

Not as fresh as I remembered. Could it be my memory? – Or a fading bottle?

Nikka Super Old Rare, 43%

The bottle design enticed me, but the price – when available – deterred, so this sample is a compromise.

More leathery notes on the nose. Rich & warm palate. Definitely a more pronounced peat hit on the finish with this one!

My favourite!

Thoughts

Without a doubt Super Old Rare won out in this trio.

The freshness of the Blended also impressed – but I was a little deflated by All Malt.

All 3 are well put together & showcase the Japanese blending prowess – even if none of them comply with the latest Japanese Whisky Rules.

But then that’s never been an issue with me – it’s the taste that counts.

I’m happy to keep on drinking Nikka Whisky with this enjoyable trio!

Sláinte

Bottle images courtesy Celtic Whiskey Shop – Blended & Super.

All other images authors own.

The Onward Rise Of Japanese Whisky

Japanese Whisky has seen remarkable growth over the last few years – around 9.4% annually according to some sources – making it one of the fastest expanding categories in the world.

This in itself has sparked further interest – as well as criticism.

Such criticism often took the form of ‘not playing by the rules’ – Scotch rules that is.

But then that’s precisely why I – and many others perhaps – are attracted to Japanese Whisky – it’s not Scotch!

Japanese Whisky c/othewhiskeynut

To begin with are the variety of attractively labelled & intricately designed bottles. Then there’s the blending, distilling & maturation techniques that wouldn’t be allowed under Scotch rules. Not forgetting the most important factor – fabulous taste!

I’ve always been of the view that Japanese Whisky played by different rules – which have worked very well for them – and accepted as given a bottle labelled as Japanese Whisky may not have contained 100% Japanese distillate.

But the wider world is not me – so Japan has now brought in a set of rules.

They’re a rather simple & easy framework stipulating the raw materials, production methods & maturation times used. Most importantly it states Japanese Whisky must be distilled, matured & bottled in Japan to be labelled as such.

Nikka have already indicated brands in their current range compliant with the rules & can therefore be labelled ‘Japanese Whisky’ – as well as those now heretofore ‘Whisky’.

Nikka Days is one such ‘Whisky’.

Whisky c/othewhiskeynut

I found it a lovely simple yet elegantly balanced soft peater.

It’ll be interesting to see how the sales of such offerings will proceed under the new rules – or rather – as I suspect – Nikka will increase capacity to incorporate such brands into the ‘Japanese Whisky’ category.

A taste comparison between the current bottle and that of any future release will be an exciting prospect – but one I think will not yield much discernible difference.

I’ll have a Nikka. c/othewhiskeynut

With 100 years experience I’m sure Japanese distillers are capable of replicating the entertaining tastes & flavours I enjoy.

There is one potential loser in this however.

Scotch.

Scotch Whisky has for years built up a sizeable business supplying bulk whisky to various countries who then use it to augment their own spirits.

It’s a perfectly legitimate business – but one that now appears to be in jeopardy.

Such are the swings & roundabouts of the whisky business.

Sláinte

Header image courtesy cityam.

A trip down memory lane in North London & new whiskeys.

I decided to revisit some of my old drinking dens of times past & enjoy a few whiskeys along the way.

The High Cross, Tottenham N17

How could I resist this?

A recently opened micro bar in an elegantly designed 1920’s public toilet that I can’t recall ever using – despite living round the corner for years – but do remember passing daily.

It looks the same on the outside. You enter via the ‘LADIES’ – which is a little disconcerting being a man – and behold a white tiled space replete with chunky wooden tables & chairs. The bijou bar at the ‘GENTLEMEN’ end of the building offers a good selection of local craft beers, assorted spirits & a tasty range of wholesome bar food.

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I’ll have a Nikka. c/othewhiskeynut

Spotting a Nikka From The Barrel on the top shelf I went for it.

Nice!

This blended whisky drew me in with clean & fresh flavours offering decent depth & complexity – with a bit of bite from the 51.4% ABV too.

I’d happily have this one again.

The Beehive, Tottenham, N17

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The Beehive, N17 c/othewhiskeynut

It’s probably around 30 years since I last had a drink in the Beehive.

I remember a traditional bar with carpeted floors, comfy sofas & polished wooden tables leading to a grassy beer garden.

I found a bare wooden floored open space – filling up with Spurs fans – leading to a concreted patio adorned with large sports screens.

Ah well – change is the only constant in London.

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Single Barrel please. c/othewhiskeynut

From the small whiskey selection Four Roses Single Barrel made my glass – or rather plastic cup – Spurs were playing.

Now Four Roses haven’t exactly bowled me over. Their entry Bourbon is decent enough – and this Single Barrel did boost the flavour experience with it’s higher ABV & higher rye content.

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Four Roses Bourbon c/othewhiskeynut

Just not enough character to enthrall me.

I toyed with The Ship – but the pre-match crowds were getting larger – so a short bus ride to Wood Green & a spot of lunch set me up for an invigorating walk up to the magnificent Ally Pally with it’s panoramic view over North London.

The Phoenix Bar, Alexandra Palace, N22

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The Phoenix @ Ally Pally c/othewhiskeynut

It felt like I’d just been taken back to the time my better half – now wife – and I spent an anxious few hours here over 20 years ago. All our worldly possessions were in a transit van nearby awaiting the exchange of contracts allowing us to move into our first flat down in Turnpike Lane at the foot – almost – of the wooded slopes beyond the fine windows of this very establishment.

A Dewar’s White Label was ordered.

Having just been introduced to the delights of Dewar’s 12 Year Old Ancestor blend – a lovely balanced example of peated Scotch – the White Label was rather more basic.

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An aged blend. c/othewhiskeynut

Aged – in this instance – is better.

The Great Northern Railway Tavern, Hornsey, N8

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The Great Northern c/othewhiskeynut

A fine venue to round off the day.

I found it poignant to be in London celebrating a 60th entering a bar where a memorable 30th was had by one sadly departed.

The Great Northern has had a facelift since then. Gone was the sticky carpet & shoddy armchairs. In was a sleek craft beer selection & fine foods with varnished floors & comfy seating.

The whiskey choice was a bit thin though.

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Peat Monster c/othewhiskeynut

I’d previously enjoyed a wonderful Compass Box here – but made do with Jura 10 this time.

A soft smudge of peat over a sweet caramelly base just didn’t cut it with me.

Never mind – It’s all part of the rich tapestry of life.

Bar of The Day – High Cross.

Whiskey of The Day – Nikka From The Barrel.

Sláinte

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