Notably balanced and elegant, the colorful palette of whiskies combines for tremendous depth of flavor. Soft, sweet butterscotch and orange peel meet poached pears and stone fruits. Earthiness appears as dried autumn leaves, coffee, old oak, and tobacco. Among the tangle of spices, tasters identified chili pepper, allspice, cloves, and universally adored its ginger note. Finally, wisps of smoke and sea salt. Overall, it feels generously malty, with the grain whisky lending broad sweetness and supple mouthfeel across the long finish. Beyond its delightful flavors, Nikka From the Barrel presents some paradoxes worthy of contemplation over a glass. It is a classic, yet new to the U.S. It is typically Japanese, yet singularly magnificent. It is delightful sipped neat and also blossoms with water. Even the simple, squat bottle is in contrast to the profound complexity within. (Fortunately, the 500 ml bottle offered in other markets received a supersizing for U.S. drinkers.) The great majority of new Japanese whiskies now arriving to our shores are so rare and so expensive that they seem intended only for elite whisky lovers. Nikka From the Barrel is a consummate Japanese blend for anyone to enjoy. *Number 1 in the 2018 Top 20* (JL, Winter 2018)
The wonderful Nikka From the Barrel has been one of the most sought-after offerings from this special distiller based outside of Sapporo. It's previously not been available in the US due to the unusual bottle size, but thankfully the owners have designed a new 750ml version. This is a blend of many of the Nikka whiskies we know and love dumped and mingled for further marrying in a large vat at the distillery, hence "from the barrel." It's one of the few higher proof offerings available from any Japanese distillers and has a unique character. While the Hibiki Harmony might be the most popular blended Japanese whisky available in the US, From The Barrel is easily the most flavorful. This is nicely aged Yoichi, Miyagikyo, Coffey Grain and Malt further aged post blending and bottled at 102.8 proof. No wonder people are going rabid for the stuff.