Review No.56. Taketsuru Pure Malt

Taketsuru is a famous name in the world of Japanese whisky.  Masataka Taketsuru once studied in Scotland and learnt how to make whisky.  He took what he learnt back to Japan and founded Nikka. He located the distillery in a location in Japan that he deemed to resemble Scotland most closely.  Japanese whisky production is based on Scotch single malts, Suntory have the Yamzaki which I see as a speyside style whisky and they have the Hakushu which I see as a Islay style whisky.  Nikka produce single malts, grains and blends.  Their single malts are Yoichi and Miyagikyo and their blend is the brilliant Nikka from the Barrel.  Nikka’s grain whisky is called Coffey.  The Taketsuru Pure Malt is a blended malt whisky, so this does not contain grain which makes me assume that this is largely made from Yoichi and Miyagikyo – but that is a guess on my part, there may be other malts in this one.


Whisky: Nikka Taketsuru Pure Malt Japanese Blended Malt Whiskey, 43% vol.

Nose: Spice, berry fruits, leather, oak

Taste: Malt, candy, cherry, honey, spice, smoke, oak

Finish:  Red fruits and oak

Score: 3.25

Summary: This blend tastes like a lightly peated speysider.  It has those rich dark fruit flavours with a hint of spice and some smoke.  I find the combination well balanced and much to my liking.  It took some time for me to pick out the smoke but once I picked it up it only added to the flavour in a positive way.  There is something about this that reminds me of Balvenie, the flavour profiles are similar.  The 18 year old version of this has won awards and like most Japanese whiskies has been in demand, meaning availability is low and prices are high. If this NAS version is anything to go by then the 18 year old must be pretty good.


Scoring scale: My scores reflect a balance of the overall experience, availability and cost for a whisky,

1 – not to my preference

2 – tastes fine but does not excite me

3 – more to my liking and would revisit occasionally

4 – very much to my liking and would consider as a regular feature on my whisky shelf

5 – permanent feature on my whisky shelf


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