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  1. #1
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    Super Nikka Japanese blend

    I was in El Cerrito and went to a favorite Japanese grocery (Yao-Ya-San), was checking out their sake/sho-chu selection and noticed they had some whiskies from Nikka. I was totally shocked and delighted to see some Japanese malts here in the US other than the two single malts from Yamazaki. What I found were two blends from Nikka. One called Gold and Gold, the other Super Nikka. I took home Super Nikka because it was the last one. The photo is from an ad or something I found online.

    Well I couldn't wait to open it and once I did I was delighted to taste a very smooth and extremely balanced malt.

    Has anyone had this before? Also, I get the feeling it is not a true blend but rather a vatted malt (unlike the Scotch designation). Do you know if Japanese blends have neutral grain distillate added? It sure doesn't taste like it. The Scotch blends I've had distinctly taste like the GNS.

    Of the Japanese malts I've tasted, mostly from Tim at DougDog's study group, I enjoyed immensely. This one has a nice malty taste and as Murray states in the Whisky Bible "honeyed notes".

    Cheers,
    Lear
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  2. #2
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    Re: Super Nikka Japanese blend

    That sounds very interesting. I've had Yamazaki 12, and I have no complaints, but Yamazaki 18 is expensive enough that I've never tried it.

    I've never seen a Nikka product in Chicagoland, but I'll have to see if there might be a Japanese market that carries Nikka.
    Oh no! You have walked into the slavering fangs of a lurking grue!

  3. #3
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    Re: Super Nikka Japanese blend

    Quote Originally Posted by jinenjo View Post
    I was in El Cerrito and went to a favorite Japanese grocery (Yao-Ya-San), was checking out their sake/sho-chu selection and noticed they had some whiskies from Nikka. I was totally shocked and delighted to see some Japanese malts here in the US other than the two single malts from Yamazaki. What I found were two blends from Nikka. One called Gold and Gold, the other Super Nikka. I took home Super Nikka because it was the last one. The photo is from an ad or something I found online.

    Well I couldn't wait to open it and once I did I was delighted to taste a very smooth and extremely balanced malt.

    Has anyone had this before? Also, I get the feeling it is not a true blend but rather a vatted malt (unlike the Scotch designation). Do you know if Japanese blends have neutral grain distillate added? It sure doesn't taste like it. The Scotch blends I've had distinctly taste like the GNS.

    Of the Japanese malts I've tasted, mostly from Tim at DougDog's study group, I enjoyed immensely. This one has a nice malty taste and as Murray states in the Whisky Bible "honeyed notes".

    Cheers,
    Lear
    The Super Nikka is a very good whiskey. I just got out my bottle and checked and it says it is malt and grain. So it is definitely a blend of malt whiskey and grain whiskey. I don't have any idea what the percentages are and haven't had it in a while, but I am guessing that there is a lot of malt in it. I also don't know what cut they take when they make the grain whiskey. I know that is a lot of, "I don't knows" I will see if I can find out more.

    I also have a bottle of Super Nikka Whiskey Vatted Pure Malt that I like quite a lot. It weights in at a hefty abv of 55.5% I have seen, but not tried an extra aged Super Nikka. IIRC, always a chancy business, it is 15 years old. It was a little expensive but not outrageously so. I will have to pick up a bottle, finances permitting.

    Ed
    Bourbon makes me happy.

    Go Fighters!

  4. #4
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    Re: Super Nikka Japanese blend

    Thanks for the info, Ed.

    Yeah, it sure is good stuff! In Murray's bible he writes it has some peat in it, but adds there are other bottlings without peat. Mine must be the latter.

    As for the percentage of GNS, it surely must be low. I can barely taste it, if at all.

    What a great find if I say so myself. And for $23!! Who knows if I'll come upon it again? Part of the thrill of finding this bottle was in knowing how rare it was to purchase it in the U.S. I just wish there were more Japanese malts available here.

    Speaking of peated Japanese malts... do you, Ed, or anyone know how they peat their malts? Do the Japanese distilleries import peat from Scotland? Grow their own? Import peated barley malt?

    Kampai!
    -Lear
    "It hasn't cured my broken heart, but it sure helps a lot."
    -Ernest Tubb

  5. #5
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    Re: Super Nikka Japanese blend

    Japanese blends are like Scottish blends and, for that matter, Irish and Canadian blends, in that the blending whiskey is a very high proof whiskey made in a column still from unmalted grains, but it is aged in barrels and is, therefore, considered whiskey and not GNS. American blended whiskey is the only blended whiskey that contains GNS, and because of that it cannot be exported as whiskey.

  6. #6
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    Re: Super Nikka Japanese blend

    Quote Originally Posted by cowdery View Post
    Japanese blends are like Scottish blends and, for that matter, Irish and Canadian blends, in that the blending whiskey is a very high proof whiskey made in a column still from unmalted grains, but it is aged in barrels and is, therefore, considered whiskey and not GNS. American blended whiskey is the only blended whiskey that contains GNS, and because of that it cannot be exported as whiskey.
    What Chuck says is true, but Nikka does do some things with at least one of their blends that doesn't quite match the above. Nikka's All Malt is a blend of two types of Malt Whiskies distilled in pot and patent stills. A patent still is the same thing as a column still. Are they taking a very high proof cut from the patent still? Probably, but since they are already doing something very different from other blenders they well might be taking a different cut as well. They do other things differently, too. I have been told, on the Whisky Magazine Forum, that some of the Malt in Nikka Pure Malt Black Label is aged in new charred oak barrels instead of the traditional used cooperage. I am planning to visit their Yoichi distillery this month. I will try to ask some questions.

    Ed
    Bourbon makes me happy.

    Go Fighters!

  7. #7
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    Re: Super Nikka Japanese blend

    Quote Originally Posted by jinenjo View Post
    Thanks for the info, Ed.

    Yeah, it sure is good stuff! In Murray's bible he writes it has some peat in it, but adds there are other bottlings without peat. Mine must be the latter.

    As for the percentage of GNS, it surely must be low. I can barely taste it, if at all.

    What a great find if I say so myself. And for $23!! Who knows if I'll come upon it again? Part of the thrill of finding this bottle was in knowing how rare it was to purchase it in the U.S. I just wish there were more Japanese malts available here.

    Speaking of peated Japanese malts... do you, Ed, or anyone know how they peat their malts? Do the Japanese distilleries import peat from Scotland? Grow their own? Import peated barley malt?

    Kampai!
    -Lear
    Hi Lear,

    My bottle is peaty. A very balanced peatiness. I like the Islay peat monsters and often am put off by more subtly peated whiskies. While Nikka Super is by no means a peat monster, the peat is there in such a balanced way that I don't find myself wishing for a stronger note.

    As to where they get their peat...

    A friend of mine is a peat expert, agricultural peat. I once asked him about the peat they use for making whiskey here in Japan. IIRC, he said that in the early days they imported peat from Scotland but that now days they use peat dug in Hokkaido. But I am not sure that peat is being dug in Hokkaido now. At least for agricultural porposes that is no longer being done, but it might be that they are still digging enough for whiskey production. I will ask both my friend and the tour guides at Yoichi about this and get back to you.

    Ed
    Bourbon makes me happy.

    Go Fighters!

  8. #8
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    Re: Super Nikka Japanese blend

    Quote Originally Posted by Edward_call_me_Ed View Post
    I have been told, on the Whisky Magazine Forum, that some of the Malt in Nikka Pure Malt Black Label is aged in new charred oak barrels instead of the traditional used cooperage. I am planning to visit their Yoichi distillery this month. I will try to ask some questions.

    Ed
    That sounds quite interesting. I've heard you say good things about the Pure Malt Black label on other posts. Wish I could try some of that! I'm picturing a heavy bourbon style influence.

    As for your peat answer, thanks. It at least tells me they use their own peat in some form, and not by importing peated malt (a la McCarthy's).

    Lear
    "It hasn't cured my broken heart, but it sure helps a lot."
    -Ernest Tubb

  9. #9
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    Re: Super Nikka Japanese blend

    Quote Originally Posted by jinenjo View Post
    That sounds quite interesting. I've heard you say good things about the Pure Malt Black label on other posts. Wish I could try some of that! I'm picturing a heavy bourbon style influence.

    Lear
    Jim Murray likes the Black Lable too. He rates it a 95, at least he rates one batch that high. giving it a perfect 25 for balance. I wouldn't say that it has a heavy bourbon style influence, maybe light. It has a wonderful peat smoke note that is not Islay-like. Probably most like Talisker 10 without the pepper. Smoother and sweeter than Talisker, that might be the new wood at work.

    Ed
    Bourbon makes me happy.

    Go Fighters!

  10. #10
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    Re: Super Nikka Japanese blend

    I guess I thought of bourbon due to new charred barrels. I suppose the distillate (in this case, malted barley) really does hold the overall effect.
    "It hasn't cured my broken heart, but it sure helps a lot."
    -Ernest Tubb

 

 

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