Single malt whisky - tasting notes

02 Jul 2011

Nikka Pure Malt White

Tasting notes by Ruben Luyten - Posted in * Japan

Nikka Pure Malt White is our final review in the Japanese series. As a matter of fact, it’s not entirely Japanese. Pure Malt White is a blend of Scotch Islay whisky (Coal Ila?) and a smaller portion of peated Nikka whisky. Nikka Pure Malt Black is also peated but it contains mainly Nikka whisky and no Scotch.


Nikka Pure Malt WhiteNikka Pure Malt White (43%, OB 2010, 50cl)

Nose: a very refined mix of elegant peat (clear and present, but not a kick in your face) and juicy fruits. Cold ashes, medicinal notes in the distance. Great balance with the Japanese influence: coconut cream, oranges, nectarine, passion fruit, a little leather. Hints of vanilla. I really like the fusion. Mouth: starts Caol Ila-esk: smoky and slightly peppery. Hints of walnuts. Evolves on malty notes with honey and a distinct floweriness, which develops into a clear soapiness. Is this Yoichi and 1980’s Bowmore then? Bowmore is owned by Suntory, so it’s unlikely they would sell spirit to their opponent Nikka, but you never know. Finish: again quite floral (violets and lavender) with a dry peatiness.

Flowery notes are sometimes a bit tricky and personally I have difficulty with all kinds of soapy notes. Maybe other batches are more enjoyable? Around € 30 (50 cl).

Score: 75/100

This concludes our little Japanese series. Some great Longmorns coming up after the weekend.

Nikka Pure Malt White 2 Ruben Luyten 2011-07-02
  • Alexandre Vingtier

    hello, just wondering where you got the info regarding blending japanese and islay malts ?

  • Ruben

    Nojatta has that information: but now that you mention it, I can’t seem to find an official source.

  • Ruben
  • Chris Bunting

    Think I am a bit late to this one, Ruben has already put up a Nikka source. I think this was all originally explained to me by Atsushi Horigami at Bar Zoetrope (???), but Ruben’s source makes it nice and official.

  • Alexandre Vingtier

    Just quoting “”White” is a pure malt whisky made mainly with Islay, Scotland type malt and has a heavy, peaty essence.”

    Maybe they might just mean the type of malted barley or does malt in English only refer to malt whisky (and why didn’t they mention malt whisky instead ?)

  • Alexandre Vingtier

    “Mainly composed of malt of the Scottish island of Islay”, no S so it should be a single malt and so the only big distillery selling to blenders is Caol Ila…

    => they do not mention Yoichi in the formula. Miyagikyo has also produced heavily peated malt.

  • Ruben

    Yes but other sources say it’s Yoichi:
    By the way on the European website Nikka claims it’s peated Yoichi (using “Islay style” barley then?) + (unpeated?) Miyagikyo and NO mention of Islay whisky:
    It’s all quite confusing!

    I’ve sent an e-mail to Nikka. Let’s hope they can clarify.

  • Chris Bunting

    My understanding is that it is a vatted malt including Islay whisky, and Nikka whisky (presumably from both Yoichi and Miyagikyo.) It is part of a series that spotlights Yoichi, Miyagikyo and Islay in its three bottles.



December 2015
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Coming up

  • Lagavulin Distillers Edition (2015)
  • Talisker Distillers Edition (2015)
  • Laphroaig 32 Year Old
  • Glen Grant 65yo 1950 cask #2747 for Wealth Solutions
  • Mortlach 1959/1960 (G&M Royal Wedding)

1934 notes by Ruben

WhiskyNotes - Ruben LuytenThis blog is my personal collection of impressions, written while searching for the ultimate single malt whisky.