Item: #103694
Bottle Size: 750ml


Don’t be fooled by the name. The word “Coffey” isn’t a different spelling for “coffee,” but rather named after Aeneas Coffey, an Irishman who improved and patented Robert Stein’s column still. The company imported these stills from Scotland in 1963, and Nikka uses two Coffey stills at Miyagikyo Distillery. The majority of this spirit is composed of corn, and what intrigues me about this particular Nikka is that its robust nature reminds me of an assertive bourbon that pack a lot of punch. However, it has a unique finish, the kind of unexpected ending one may find in a Cohen Brothers' film. Here, it captures some heat and classic flavors of toffee, coffee, molasses and burnt sugar from the base of a flan like many bourbons I’ve encountered, but it sets itself apart from this type of American whiskey in the sense that the tropical fruits take a back seat and I’m presented with a rounded mouthful of cream and spice. With a few drops of water, peach and grass emerge. Out of the three samples, this is the most robust one. So, if you enjoy a whisky that’s jam-packed with punch, this Nikka Coffey Grain is the one for you.

Masataka Taketsuru, who is known today as the “Father of Japanese Whisky,” went to Scotland in 1918 to study at University of Glasgow in Scotland, so he could specialize in chemistry. While he was there, he carefully honed his craft in distilling spirts, studying under great master distillers and working at Hazelburn Distillery in the Scottish Highlands. As one would expect, his exposure to the Scottish culture inspired him to produce a spirit back home that would be most authentic to Scotch. Masataka was able to fulfill his dream of producing his own brand of whisky when he established his own company called Nikka in 1934 aftering working with Suntory for 10 years. His first distillery, which is called Yoichi Distillery, is located in southern Hokkaido in an area surrounded by mountains and a coast. This is where they generally produce full-bodied, peaty malts. Most of the spirit from this distillery is aged in remade and brand new sherry casks. Their second distillery, which is called Miyagikyo (est. 1969), tends to produce a soft and mild malt, in which their spirit is distilled in copper pot stills and aged in the following types of casks: hogshead, ex-bourbon cask, American oak puncheons and sherry butts. In addition, there are 3 types of barley used: unpeated, lightly peated at 4 parts-per-million (ppm) and heavily peated malt that ranges from 35-50 ppm.
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