Masataka Taketsuru is sometimes called the "Father of Japanese Whisky". He spent several years in Scotland studying chemistry and whisky, taking on an apprenticeship at a distillery in Speyside.
When he returned to Japan, he began working for a distillery interested in expanding their product line. However, he became disheartened by their vision of whisky. He left there, founding his own company, Nikka Distillery, in 1934.
I once read somewhere that of all the varieties of whisky in Japan, Nikka sticks most closely to the recipe, method, and spirit of Scotch whisky. Unfortunately, I neglected to make a note of where I read that, and now cannot find it. However, according to Nikka’s website, Taketsuru’s goal was to introduce “authentic whisky” to Japan, and the distillery does still closely follow his vision.
It is no surprise that as a fan of Scotch whisky, David and I would also be in favour of Nikka. However, we usually go to the store armed with nothing more than half-remembered names from the internet, and a fear of green bottles (Green bottles being the favoured colour for whisky from Islay).
And so, without trying, our third bottle of whisky comes from the same creators as our first two.
Taketsuru 17 with our rogue elephant hiding in the box. The elephant hides somehwere in our house, and today I found him in the whisky.
Expression: Taketsuru, Pure Malt
Price: I didn’t ask - it was a birthday gift. However, I was assured it was “not expensive”.
Verdict: The whisky smells and tastes like caramel. In fact, the scent is overwhelmingly caramel. I tried to detect anything else, but could not. The alcohol doesn’t linger long, and it is easy to drink.
As I am a fan of caramel, I would certainly buy this again. If you want something smokier, though, this is not for you.
For more information about Taketsuru 12 or 21, here is the Nikka website.
Nonjatta, the blog to which I usually direct readers, has a short, uninspiring review of the 17, although I do not agree with the reviewer.