Bought: Whiskysite, Holland, 26th October 2015
93/100 – Whisky Bible 2016
79/100 – Whiskybase (from 18 member votes)
The ‘Super Nikka’ blend popped onto my radar when I noticed its excellent score in the Whisky Bible. It became more interesting when I couldn’t find it anywhere in the UK and various places said it had been discontinued. When I visited my local Whisky Shop they said they are constantly being asked for Japanese whisky and the popularity is exceeding their supply. Not only single malts but blends are vanishing off the shelves. You have to think this craze is a passing phase but will there be any Super Nikka left when it ends?
Thankfully several online shops in Holland and across Europe have bottles of the Super Nikka and at a very reasonable price too. Although 79/100 on Whiskybase is nothing more than a ‘good’ whisky by their standards it’s Jim Murray’s 93/100 in his Whisky Bible that makes the ‘Super’ stand out. 93/100 classifies this Japanese blend as “brilliant” and Mr Murray remarks “a very, very fine blend which makes no apology whatsoever for the peaty complexity of Yoichi malt. Now, with less caramel, it’s pretty classy stuff. However, Nikka being Nikka you might find the occasional bottling that is entirely devoid of peat, more honeyed and lighter in style (89/100 – no less a quality turn, obviously). Either way, an absolutely brilliant day-to-day, anytime, any place dram. One of the true 24-carat, super nova commonplace blends not just in Japan, but in the world.” Who wouldn’t want a bottle of Super Nikka after a review like that?!
Unfortunately I bought this Super Nikka with my collector’s hat on before an online auction in December 2015 where a bottle sold for a measly £18.50. The month before in the same auction site a bottle went for £52.50, such is the up and down nature of the desire for Japanese whisky. Heck, I might just have to drink it instead of treating it as an investment! I’m curious to see if I have a peated or unpeated version.
Here’s Whisky.com with their You Tube review (August 2016):
Posted in Nikka (Japan)
Tagged 43%, 70cl, Blend, Holland, Japan, Japanese, NAS, Nikka, Nikka (Japan), Rare Old, Super Nikka, Whiskysite, Yoichi
Bought: Amazon, 30th December 2014
90-92/100 – Whisky Bible 2015
81.23/100 – Whiskybase (average from 148 member votes)
Amazon got me again with another great discount in a “Daily Deal”. This Japanese vatted malt comes in 3 different colours: white, red and black. Both the red and the black are based purely on Japanese whiskies but the white includes an element of Islay. What exactly this means is a bit of a mystery, along with the Islay distillery adding the influence. But ‘guesswork’ is part of the fun in the world of whisky, or do I mean ‘frustration’? Curiously Phil of Whisky Wednesday says in his video below that the peat in the White Label comes from the Japanese brands of Yoichi and Miyagikyo, which isn’t what my initial research revealed. Perhaps my initial source was simply hinting at the peat connection with Islay but the White Label is 100% Japanese whisky.
There are 3 different versions of the white label in the Whisky Bible 2015 scoring 90/100, 91/100 and 92/100. Each has a different batch number that sadly doesn’t match anything printed on mine. Jim Murray, the bible author, includes remarks in his reviews of “big peaty number”, “real class” and “peculiarly Japanese feel to this delicately peated delight”. So, depending on the blend, I could either have a “big peaty number” or a “delicately peated delight” or something in between. Whichever it is, anything scoring between 90-93.5/100 is considered “brilliant” in the bible.
Scoring over 81/100 on Whiskybase is very good with comments of “I found this a very friendly whiskey, fit for most occasions” and “not bad, the peat profile was very present but subtle”.
Here’s Whisky Wednesday with their thoughts about the Nikka White Label, which they score 8/10 (YouTube May 2017):
Posted in Nikka (Japan)
Tagged 43%, 50cl, Amazon, Islay, Japan, Japanese, Miyagikyo, NAS, Nikka, Pure Malt, Vatted Malt, White Label, Yoichi
Bought: Amazon, 5th December 2014
83.5/100 – Whisky Bible 2013
86/100 – Ralfy – His YouTube review here (April 2009)
The very first whisky book I got that started my collecting crazy was Ian Buxton’s ‘101 Whiskies to Try Before You Die’. My initial idea was to acquire all 101 until I realised that some were impossible to purchase in the UK. Clearly the author never meant for anyone to take his title seriously. And with another book mentioning 1001 whiskies, my liver is thankful I failed before adding a further 900!
Now, where was I?! Ah yes, the Yoichi 10yo is the last whisky mentioned in the 101 book. I might not have all of them but I feel a sense of completion by having the very last one. The history of the distillery is worth a read but Ian Buxton finishes with his tasting notes, which are:
Nose: Bold and direct, with peat evident. Light citrus notes.
Taste: Minty chocolate and orange oil. Creamy mouth feel and delicate peat smoke.
Finish: Sweetness, peat and some antiseptic notes in alternate waves.
I will look out for these when I try it.
I had to go back to the Whisky Bible 2013 to find the Yoichi 10yo, so it is probably a different batch to the version I have. Jim Murray expresses shock that the release he tastes isn’t as good as he’s tried in the past and concludes with “Pleasant. Drinkable. But dull.” In the 2009 edition of the Bible there were numerous batches of the 10yo listed, with the most recent scoring 89/100. I’m curious to see where my bottle falls in the varying scale of Yoichi, and is its demise from the Bible a sign that it’s been discontinued?! Surely not another distillery moving to non-age statement releases?!