The Japanese have always been great “copy cats”. I mean that in a nice way. There was a time when Japan was emerging from its cultural and technological isolation that “made in Japan” was synonymous with cheap. But the Japanese learn very quickly and “made in Japan” has meant quite the opposite of cheap for long time. Luckily, this applies to anything they decide to manufacture including alcoholic beverages; No real surprise – sake is categorically one of my favorite alcoholic beverages (I’m sure to get into that as we get into 2017 – good grief another year gone by – 2020 just around the corner).
Over the past 20 years or so (could be longer), Japanese whiskey distilleries have been bottling very highly rated product. This Nikka Coffey (not coffee) Grain Whisky is no exception… except that it IS an exception in the bigger picture of whisky production. I am not the expert, so if you are interested in the coffey distillation method (and you should be, continuous distillation is a very interesting process that’s used for all sorts of chemical production) please read about it online. The Japanese imported a bunch of coffey distillers from Scotland back in the 1970’s, started mastering the coffey distilling technique and now produce excellent grain based coffey distilled whisky – and almost no one else does, certainly not that gets imported to the U.S. I strongly suggest serving over ice – the chill and slight amount of water significantly enhances the flavors; it’s amazing how many subtle flavors come from distilling grain – the vanilla tones easily recognized despite there being no actual vanilla in the whisky. Amazing.
If you like whisky and like to try new things, particularly “different” new things, then there isn’t any one whisky you should try more than this one. I’m going to swing by the liquor store next time I’m out shopping and pick up another bottle of this stuff before everyone finds out how good it is.