Nikka Whisky From The Barrel

Quick Stats:

Distiller: Nikka Whiskey

Spirit: Straight Rye Whiskey

Aged: NAS

Price: Around $79.99

Proof: 102.8

Nikka Whiskey Website

About The Distillery
“Masataka Taketsuru got his chemistry degree and apprenticed in Scotland before returning to Japan. It was there he entered a contract with Kotobukiya (Suntory) in 1923 to direct building the Yamazaki Distillery

After his ten year contract with Kotobukiya, Masataka decided to become independent to make his own ideal whisky. In 1934 he went north and built his first distillery in Yoichi, Hokkaido, a place – though inconveniently located – he had always considered to be the ideal site for him to make whisky. The environmental conditions of Yoichi were in many ways similar to those of Scotland with a cool climate, crisp air and appropriate humidity. The company first started producing apple products under the name of “Dai Nippon Kaju”, meaning the “Great Japanese Juice Company” while he was preparing to produce whisky. In 1936 the first pot still designed by Masataka and made in Japan was installed and started distillation. Finally in 1940 the first whisky from Nikka was launched. The brand name of this whisky was “NIKKA WHISKY”, short for “Nippon Kaju”, which later became the name of the company itself.”

About The Bottle
“The complex formula is created by blending more than 100 different batches of malt and grain whiskies. After blending, the whisky is filled into used barrels and matured for another few months. This “marriage” process harmonizes all components in the formula, resulting in a mellow taste. Bottling is controlled at 51.4% ABV, almost equivalent to 90 British proof, that Nikka blenders determined through repeated experiments to achieve the ideal taste profile.

The iconic square bottle reflects its concept “a small block of whisky” and embodies the intense and rich flavors of the whisky inside. Long after its launch, this bottle is still timeless and recognized for its ultimate simplicity.”

  • Nose
  • Palate
  • Finish
  • Proof vs Heat
  • Value

Notes & Review

Nose: The nose, for the proof, is very alcoholic. There’s initially a sharpness to it that, if you take to strong of a whiff, can sting a bit. But, if you take a more delicate approach to it, it’s actually a lot more complex than you might initially think. Wood baked pear with a spritz of citrus take up the front with notes of deep caramel, baking spice, spiced apple cider, and vanilla extract.

Palate: The palate picks is more like the undertones of the nose. Not much of that “pure alcohol” flavor on it, but it does carry a lot more of that sweet and spiced fruit profile. 

There is a bit of crisp apple on the front with a nice sweet vanilla spice that caries through followed by winter spice, clove, honey, tobacco, and liquid smoke. 

There is a twinge of peat in there as well that pokes its head up ever so slightly throughout the palate.

Finish: The finish dries out notes of PEZ candy, tobacco, charcoal, and liquid smoke. 


Review: This can be a bit of a polarizing pour since it might not be incredibly approachable for people with sweeter or more sensitive palates. 

It’s definitely a pour that drinks right at its proof, and, if you’re not a fan of how sharp some of those flavors are, it can seem even hotter. 

However, if you’re more attuned to hotter whisky and scotch, this one might be much closer to what you’re accustomed to. 

There is a sweet depth to this whiskey that you have to gear-up and go on an expedition to find, but once you’ve found those sweeter fruit notes, it’s hard not to immediately pick them out on subsequent tastes. 

There is, overall, a nice play here between the sweet and savory nature of the dram as it bounces back and forth between the two throughout the tasting experience. 

It’s a much-loved pour, and I can see why even if its purely due to the unique profile of Nikka Whisky’s “From The Barrel” expression. However, there’s something to be said about how it goes about its uniqueness. Modulating between different profiles like bookends is something that in itself, is an appealing quality that helps separate it from the pack. 

User Review
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