What's in a name? Nikka Taketsuru 17 Year Old whisky is called whisky because it's produced in Japan. Were it from America it would be spelled Nikka Taketsuru 17 Year Old whiskey, rather than whisky.
The nose is fresh and fruity with fruit salad, berries, vanilla spice, wood and honey. The palate is fruity and of good body. It is rather rounded with vanilla and a little chocolate. The finish is of medium-length with a bittersweet character.
I came back with three of these, 2 wrapped hopefully in the suitcase. But the first I bought was on a free day in Tokyo. Huge department store, and I wound my way down to where the bottles were sold. Tasted a local Saitama whiskey. Quite good, but went with a small 180ml bottle of the Whiskey that just won best blended in the world, Nikka 17 Year Old.
Wow. I now have an affection for the 180ml bottle. It allows for wonderful smelling. Maybe a similar action to the Whiskey Glass (to be seen, those are in the mail to me now), but all I know is that this pure malt has a sweet deep nose. When smelling just right, one can smell it deep. It is cherry sweet all day long.
Yes this is a great whiskey in the mouth, but the nose defines it before you need to let it touch your lips.
This is high end.
Get it here. And tell everyone you know that duty free exiting Japan had this for 3500 yen (domestically this sells for approx 5400; whereas the Hibiki 17 is 6500 duty free, 10500 domestically).
No doubt, the Hibiki is incredible.
But from Nikka I feel even more excited about Japanese whiskey. The Yoichi 10 (180ml also) I just opened in California is marvelous and very drinkable. (the 15 Year Yoichi must be unreal).
But the Nikka 17 might define a turning point in my life. I wanted something great that day and I found it. That's always a good thing.
Of course, unlike the USA, it is LEGAL to drink anywhere in Japan. So I took a goofy sample cup, and relaxed and mozied around for a few hours in a beautiful, packed area, taking in the local feel, and pouring small amounts, smelling the wonderful port like sweetness and savoring the way a great whiskey makes your mouth feel and taste.
Similar to the 15 year old Yamazaki Sherry cask, but more smooth.
Perhaps closer to the Glengoyne 17 year old.
Still a bit of bite from the alcohol. Not very spicy or warm, but tasty.
The 21-year old is a lot smoother and tastes 35% better in addition to being more smooth. I'm a bit torn since I do like a little alcohol bite (not entirely smooth) with this type of whisky.