The Taketsuru line from Nikka is not a single malt, but a pure malt. This is the same thing as a vatted malt or blended malt whisky in Scotland where they take 2 or more single malts and blend them together but do not add any grain whisky to the mix. Just a blending of pure single malts.
In the case of the Taketsuru it’s a blending of single malts from the Yoichi and Miyagikyo distilleries and is rumored to have been the pride and joy of it’s namesake Mastaka Taketsuru who happens to be not just the founder of Nikka, but the father of Japanese whisky. Trained in Scotland by master distillers he brought the process back to Japan and it’s easy to see why Japanese whiskies like this have similar attributes with Scotch and is finding a foothold amongst single malt lovers.
Overall the Taketsuru is approachable, but not exactly what I’m looking for in a daily drinker. The nose has a nice sweet and savory thing going on that I really enjoy, but the flavor and the finish are really not my favorite. The ashy quality of the peat becomes cloying after a bit which, combined with the underlying medicinal qualities, makes it feel a bit off to me and not really something I want in my glass every day. A glass on the weekend, sure, just not something I’d be looking forward to after a long day.
Taketsuru 12 Review
Distiller: Yoichi and Miyagikyo
Malt and a marmalade like sweetness rise up first followed by banana fruit leather, caramel and dried orchard fruits. Hiding behind this strangely inviting array of aromas lie some peat and a slight medicinal quality.
Light fruit and caramel are upfront making a splash with a mild honey and a bit of smoke. It’s not that same earthy peaty smoke like with a Lagavulin, but more of a charcoal smoke like from a grill giving it an ashy quality. Hanging out under this is more of that chemically medicinal quality that sits a bit at odds with everything else.
Syrupy bordering on creamy with so little burn it’s almost cooling.
Long finish of orchard fruit which fades to ash, malt, honey and burnt cinnamon.