A suitable selection for many reasons, not least the dedication shown by Nikka’s founder, Masataka Taketsuru, who travelled all the way to Scotland way back in 1918 to learn how to make scotch. After studying organic chemistry at my alma mater, the University of Glasgow , Taketsuru worked at the lost Hazelburn distillery in Campbelltown before travelling back to Japan. As the fourth oldest University in the English-speaking world, many students from abroad have studied at Glasgow since its founding in 1451, with the first Japanese studying engineering in the 1870s. But Taketsuru went the extra mile and not only took home the learning from his University years and his apprenticeships but also, despite opposition from both their families, a Glasgow wife.

Nikka Coffey Grain Whisky is made using the two Coffey stills at the Miyagikyo distillery, both imported from Scotland to Japan in 1963. While column stills allow continuous production of pure and high-strength alcohol, the flavour is seen as less intense. These older 60’s stills deliver a more flavourful whisky than more modern examples and Nikka have now brought the Coffey Grain Whisky into its core range.

Tasting Notes

A light amber, exotic, sweet expression, bottled at 45% ABV.
The Nose: Sugared corn with notes of vanilla bourbon masking fresh creosote.
The Palate: Brown sugar fire with a creamy hint of vanilla, spiced tropical fruit notes giving way to a slight tannin dryness.
Mid Palate: Buttery popcorn.
The Finish: Short finish, tannin at the back ending with corn notes.

With ice:
The Nose: Sugared corn with notes of vanilla bourbon.
The Palate: Buttery balanced sweetness and spiced tropical fruit, with a hint of american cream soda,
Mid Palate: Slight cinnamon, buttery.
The Finish: Prompt finish, burnt brown sugar with tea notes.

If you still need a reason to try Japanese whisky and are a fan of the grain, or indeed bourbon, then this one’s for you. Give it a go!

Roadtested at F, Milngavie, Scotland.