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This is a great 17 year old blended malt named for Nikka's founder, the whisky-pilgrim Masataka Taketsuru.
Nose: Fresh and fruity with fruit salad, berries, sultanas and some other dried fruit, vanilla, fragrant wood and honey.
Palate: Spicy and rounded with vanilla, blood orange and a little chocolate.
Finish: Medium-length, slightly bittersweet, oak, fruit and cocoa.
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I am really struggling to think of a Scotch malt whisky that balances the sherried elements with the smoky as pleasingly as this does. Admittedly 17 yrs is very old by Japanese standards but even 30 year old Islays that I've tasted are either too heavy on phenol (Bowmore, Ardbeg, Laphroig...) or too light on smoke (Bunnahabhain). I've had a few mildly smokey Bunnas but to reach this level of complexity and smoothness, they have to be very old (39 yrs Cadenheads single cask) and therefore very expensive. Ditto the Scappas and HPs. Bruichladdich pulled it off with the Black Arts 4.1, though that was very light on the smoke. Older Arrans can be very good but sherried expressions are very rare.Hats off to Nikka therefore for a perfectly balanced (imo) rich, mildly smokey, slightly floral, honeyish, chocolatey malt. Shame it's so darned expensive here in Europe but I'll surely be stocking up on this one.
12th January 2017
OMG, i can't believe how delicious this whisky is. the slight kick at the end was a surprise as i expected it to be smoother but then again, it went so well that the little kick at the end just made it seem exotic. i need to stock up on this.
16th December 2016
My bottle had a face and mouth full of acetone. Adding some water helped this, but then the fact that it was too long in the wood really shone through. The wisps of smoke were nice, though. But at best there is a consistency issue with this whisky.
8th December 2016
My favorite Japanese whisky. Toffee chocolate flavor, long smooth finish.
6th September 2016
Friend brought his back from Japan for me. Simply one of the best I have ever had
4th September 2016
omg, a little ouch of kick than I did not expect but in a good way (like an active senior person) ohhh the light woody aroma with dark fruits, toffee, coffee and peat, absolutely bloody delicious. the Japanese sure know how to make delicious whisky. Too bad the damn price for Japanese whisky has gone up so much.
26th February 2016
4th January 2016
very nice aroma with hint of oak wood. fantastic!
16th December 2015
Got my bottle at Narita airport last year for aprox 3500 yen which is a complete bargain for this one. Everything with this Whisky is very characteristic for Nikka in general. Hints of coffee, toffee, oak and the subtle pettiness would be a quick summary. This whisky is a mix of whiskies from their two distilleries Miyagikyo and Yoichi, which you understand if you have tried the single malts separately. Miyagikyo is the more elegant and smooth one while Yoichi is powerful and a bit peaty. The price defined at the website is a bit high in my opinion, but if you are in Japan you can usually get it for under 6000 yen which is a great price for a whisky like this.
13th September 2015
Picked up a bottle when passing through Narita a couple of weeks ago en route to the States from SE Asia. A mind-blowing 3500 yen (only £19) for a Taketsuru 17? I didn't even hesitate. My plan was to pack that one carefully in my checked bag and buy another bottle on the return trip a week and a half later, when I would be staying in Tokyo for a few days. Sadly, it had long since sold out throughout the airport by that time. With the help of some gracious locals, I was able to track down a small shop which had just gotten a fresh shipment in the previous day, and though they didn't carry the 17, they did have a few of the great Taketsuru 21s in stock for only 6000 yen (£32), so naturally, I snagged one of those.As for the 17, well, it won WWA's World's Best Blended Malt award in 2015, a very good sign, but of course whisky tasting is always going to be subjective. I personally like this one quite a lot... fragrant, spicy, warm, complex, a bit sharp on the finish, but that's easily moderated by toning down the alcohol with a splash of water. (Even though this is a pretty standard 43% ABV, the alcohol seems to stand out, particularly towards the end. I certainly don't think it overwhelms the dram, but it's slightly more pronounced than I might have expected.) This one doesn't have the subtle sweetness nor the sherry influence I picked up in the 21, so it's quite a different expression -- not sure if it's aged in the same casks, but my guess is not. This is a very nice bottle to have. Though I do like this blend quite a lot, I don't think I'd be keen to pay £90 for it; however, for £19, it was an easy choice. This is a great whisky, though when it comes to blended Japanese 17s, I'd have to give the Hibiki 17 the nod over this one, though only just. I feel fortunate to have both in my collection.
10th May 2015
Tonight's whisky was the 17 year old Nikka Taketsuru. The nose was found behind the alcohol sitting as a nice Winter pine for me. The taste gently wrapped the tongue in soft mint like notes before turning mildly peaty on the sides of my tongue. The ending allowed the soft entry to make way for a sharper finish with lingering peat like a fisherman's late October morning. More enjoyable japanese whisky than most i've had because of the complexity - whereas the yamazaki 12 or coffy, or even the hokushu 25 were ultra clean and distinct in their even balance but lacking the rolling mysteries of flavor i personally like at this stage in my drinking experience. Maybe my favorite Japanese whisky to date.
7th January 2015
Sampled this as part of a tasting set. The palate is smooth, but there is a lot of alcohol on the nose and extra bite going into the finish. I was anticipating depth, but found this to be more one-note in my opinion. Glad I sampled it, but it's just not to my liking - especially given the price. I have fond memories of Japan that involve smoky bars, and similar whisky poured over perfectly carved spheres of ice. But sometimes it's the atmosphere that adds to the enjoyment of the experience... Others could disagree with my statements, but with such varied reviews, I'd recommend trying a sample first.
15th December 2014
Smooth and complex, one of my go to whiskeys.
21st November 2014
I've had a bottle of the Taketsuru 12 yr old and I was blown away by the quality for the price.So I was very excited to buy the 17. Sadly it was just wasn't up to snuff. Way too much alcohol on show first of all. It hit really you.The overall taste after was a little smoke and not much else. I was expecting much more.
8th November 2014
lovely, absolutely lovely. anyone who doesn't enjoy this taketsuru 17 should have their head examined.
7th November 2014
Overpriced at £88 from Paris CDG Aiport duty free (funny how duty free costs more than Royal Mile at a more reasonable £78).To qualify my 'overpriced' statement, one can buy 15Y/O Springbank at around £55, and that is very very good indeed......... With this 17 y/o I could not detect even the slightest hint of smoke, absolutely zero. There is a slight prickle of peat on the tongue, only just. Predominantly its sweet, minty, bourbon oak, malteser chocolates. EXREMELY smooth, almost cloying so a single glass is more than enough. Quite frankly I'm bemused at the ratings because I will never buy another.
13th May 2014
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./Joakim
3rd December 2012
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.
13th July 2012