Review: Nikka from the Barrel

Blended whisky month is coming to a close but I still have around 3 reviews left to post. (I say around as Im at Edinburgh whisky festival tomorrow and I might try some there!)

Today it’s another dram from my friend Adrian Barnett (@mynameisgone) and it’s Japanese. Nikka from the Barrel. A cask strength blend from the geniuses over at Nikka. Here are the dramstats:



  • Price £27
  • ABV 51.4%
  • Country: Japan
  • 50cl

Nose: Some decent spicy grain here, lots of spice and sweet vanilla. Rye-esque at first. Black pepper, rye bread, cinnamon and anise. A real spice bomb! Muscavado sugar, cola bottles. There is something unique about the spice here that I can’t put my finger on. Wonder if it is Japanese oak?

Palate: Vanilla, liquorice and brown sugar with oak before a huge wave of spice begins a long finish.

Finish: Spicy spice gets spicy! There is oak, pepper, anise, cinnamon, ground ginger, cola and it keeps coming!

Verdict: Terrific stuff and unique. Even though it’s 50cl (grrr Nikka, grrr!), I think this is a bargain and a brilliant drop. I will be purchasing a bottle.



Review: Nikka All Malt 12 Blends day 2

Today’s blended whisky is day two of our 12 blends event. And our friend Sandy Gould (@sjjgo on twitter) has sent us all a cracker: Nikka All Malt, Japanese Whisky.

Of course, when these notes were written I was tasting it blind and, I went for a dram with some age (12 years) at 40%ABV by Duncan Taylor. Namely the Famous, Black Bull. Oops, wrong country!

Here are the dramstats:



  • ABV 40%
  • NAS
  • Price £25

Nose: Starts with fresh green apple, pineapple cubes, zesty lime, cut grass and vanilla. After 4-5 minutes it morphs in the glass and now there is sweet vanilla and cinnamon. Again it changes and now it’s banoffee pie with a dusting of cocoa powder. After 20 minutes, there are sherry notes. What a changling. I can’t keep up with it!

Palate: Malty with chopped nuts…at first. Then we go into morphin’ mode. Some cocoa comes through, then there is kiwi fruit and lime zest. All the while it’s pretty creamy.

Finish: Some wood and dark chocolate with cocoa powder, whipped cream and a little spice. A little more consistent on the finish.

Verdict: Love it! I really want another dram of this, right now. This is my new definition of moreish drammage! Great bargain at the price too. Blends are such good value!