In general, blended whisky is created by mixing malt whisky (malted barley distilled in a pot still) with grain whisky (unmalted barley distilled in column stills, also known as Coffey stills).
For this Nikka All Malt, the Japanese group Nikka used only malted barley but distilled in both types of stills at their Yoichi and Miyagikyou distilleries. It’s quite unusual to distill malt whisky in a column still and the end result is a unique product.
In the Battle of the Stunners hosted in January, Nikka All Malt had a lot of fans and was even named the overall winner by some.
Nikka All Malt (40%, OB 2009)
Nose: a very candied profile with marshmallow and vanilla. Some lemon sweets. Ripe apples and cinnamon. Honey. A bit of creamy toffee as well (hints of Baileys). Some tobacco, leather and the lightest hint of smoke.
Mouth: a shy attack, very mellow and again very creamy. Barley sugar. Notes of raisins. A bit too sweet maybe. Oily aftertaste.
Finish: rather short with some honeysuckle, wood and coconut.
This Nikka All Malt is less simple than you would expect. It’s filled with flavour and highly drinkable. Check it out if you like sweeter malts or Irish whiskey. Around € 25 which means it’s definitely a stunner and a nice introduction to Japanese whisky.