Nikka Whisky From The Barrel

Nikka Whisky From The Barrel


Nikka From The Barrel Bottling Note

The award-winning Nikka Whisky From The Barrel blend is absolutely full of flavour. Bottled at 51.4% ABV. The blend combines both single malt and grain whisky from the Miyagikyo and Yoichi distilleries, which are then married in a huge variety of casks, including bourbon barrels, sherry butts and refill hogsheads. A huge depth of flavour in this stunning Japanese whisky. We can’t recommend this enough.



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If you haven’t heard, Japanese whiskey is more popular than ever before. Nikka, owned by Asahi, is one of the leaders, creating a variety of whiskeys at its Yoichi and Miyagikyo distilleries. Some are sold as single malts with the distillery name on it, and the rest are blended together in various ways under the Nikka label (e.g., Nikka Taketsuru).
As much as many fawn over Japanese whiskey, I personally have a love/hate relationship with it because I think it can be incredible, but it’s too frequently drowned in water.

In my time drinking Japanese whiskey, I’ve been completely blown away by Nikka Pure Malt 21 Year, impressed by Yamazaki 18 Year (but not the price), generally impressed with Hakushu 12 Year, not particularly impressed with Yamazaki 12 or Nikka Coffey Grain, and completely turned-off by Ohishi Sherry Cask. This time I’m drinking Nikka From the Barrel, Nikka’s highest proof offering at 51.4%, a jump from the standard 43%.

Nikka From the Barrel, Whisky Advocate’s 2018 Whisky of the Year, is a blend of single malt and single grain whiskeys, made in the same way that Blended Scotch Whiskeys are (except not made in Scotland). Over 100 whiskeys are blended together, aged in various bourbon barrels, sherry butts, and more to create this Japanese whiskey.

Well actually, effective April 1, 2021, Nikka From The Barrel ceased to be Japanese whiskey. Rules were finally put in place that more or less stated that Japanese whiskey had to be distilled and aged in Japan, and use Japanese water. Since this has Scotch in it, it cannot be considered Japanese whiskey anymore.

Oddly, “From the barrel” does not mean cask strength, it actually is equivalent to 90 British Proof. Regardless, I’m excited to get to know this whiskey, so let’s get exploring in this Nikka From the Barrel review.


While Nikka From the Barrel is a blend of bourbon and sherry-aged whiskeys, the bolder sherry notes explode out of the glass with blueberries and strawberries, honey-drizzled dates, dark orange syrup, and a few drops of vanilla cream. Hints of cocoa powder and milk chocolate bubble to the top now and then, reminding me of the malted barley and lighter oak and spice influences.
Buried under the wave of spiced sweetness is a subtle peat note that infuses some smoke and earth, but it’s far from Laphroaig-level. Compared to other Japanese whiskeys, Nikka From the Barrel has a stronger alcohol presence, but it mostly stays out of the way to let me appreciate the core fruit, vanilla, and spice scents.
Swirling gives off more of the same scents. I smell a lot of sweet and floral honey, berries, and candied cherries with a dollop of cream. It’s almost berry parfait-like.
Underneath the sweetness and alcohol are some subtle oak and spice that counterbalance the sweetness and provide darkness and mustiness. Additional swirling coaxes out a little more floral character and just a bit of horseradish, which is strange, but I swear it’s there.
Nikka From the Barrel smells so rich and deep, overall an incredible smelling whiskey. I’m getting ahead of myself, but it’s one of the best smelling whiskeys between $50 and $100.


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