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Nikka Pure Malt Black Impressions

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What is it? 

Distillery: Nikka Whisky, Japan
Name: Pure Malt Black
Make: Blended Whisky
Extra Info: There is a wonderful romance to the history of Nikka Whisky and the travels of its founder Masataka Taketsuru. In 1918, as a young man, Masataka, journeyed alone from Japan to Scotland. University educated in chemistry, Masataka learnt how to make whisky and fell in love with it and a Scottish woman named Rita Cowan. He honed his craft at both Hazelburn and Longmorn distilleries before he and Rita left Scotland, taking his newfound knowledge of whisky distillation with him back to Japan. Masataka worked for Suntory for 11 years before leaving in 1934 to make his own Japanese Whisky, after his 'Scotch-like' creations for Suntory were not favourably received by the Japanese. Masataka opened his own distillery, Nikka Whisky, in Yoichi, Hokkaido and produced what he considered to be authentic 'smoky' whisky, while Suntory went on to make milder blends.

Why did I buy it?

This was the first Japanese whisky that I purchased. I did some research and I wanted to buy something that was representative of the Japanese style but not prohibitively expensive. There is a huge demand for Japanese whisky and hence, the prices are quite high. Japanese blends are much more affordable than single malts so I decided on the Nikka Pure Malt Black.

What did I think of it?

Presentation: It comes in a small clear glass 500ml bottle that looks like it would be more at home in a laboratory than on a whisky shelf. It has  a short but wide cork top that can release suddenly if you are not careful when removing it. The label is a simple oval shape with black writing. It looks a bit home-brewish rather than a professionally bottled product if you ask me, but I and no doubt you, are more concerned with how it tastes than how it looks.

Appearance: Amber gold, bottled at 43% ABV and I believe it is both chill-filtered and has e150 colourant added.

Aroma: Sweet, faint smoke, pear and apricot.

Flavour: Peat smoke, fruity but I can't pick exactly what and some vanilla

Finish: Medium length, fading fruit with faint spice on the tongue.

Would I buy it again?

Probably not, but I do not regret that I did. It is a very nice blended whisky that is perfectly fine to drink neat and goes well in a Highball (with ice and soda water). It was a good introduction to Japanese whisky, but I want to try something different from Japan next time.

Disclaimer: I do not claim to have the nose and palate of a Master Sommelier, however, I am working to train my senses to better identify whisky aromas and flavours. Consider all my whisky 'Impressions' to be a work in progress and I hope to come back to each of them in the future to see if I notice anything different. Most importantly, I'm not just throwing around random aromas, flavours and adjectives for the hell of it; I am trying really hard to critically describe each whisky I taste - WhiskyDad.

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