nikka taketsuru 12 year old pure malt whiskyHere’s some good news on the international whisk(e)y front — Anchor Distilling Company is bringing Nikka Japanese Whisky to the U.S. market. The two expressions coming our way are the Yoichi Single Malt 15-year-old and the Taketsuru Pure Malt 12-year-old.

Both whiskeys grabbed our attention a few years back, when they cleaned up at Whisky Magazine’s World Whiskies Awards. In 2007, the Taketsuru was named best Japanese single malt, while in 2008, the Yoichi was named world’s best single malt. Naturally, that piqued our interest.

We’re looking forward to getting our hands on each, but until then, here’s what you can look forward to.

Taketsuru Pure Malt 12-Year-Old
Taketsuru Pure Malt 12-year-old (pictured) is composed of pure malt whisky blended in vats from the Yoichi and Miyagikyo distilleries. The distillery site is surrounded by mountains and sandwiched between two fresh water rivers, providing excellent humidity and air quality conditions for soft and mild malt. Ripe, sweet aromas such as apple and pear combined with a silky smooth texture on the palate make Taketsuru a perfect introduction to the Japanese whisky style.  40% ABV / $69.99

Yoichi Single Malt 15-Year-Old 
This expression is made at the Yoichi distillery on the island of Hokkaido. Built in 1934, Yoichi is Nikka’s first distillery. The distinct aroma and body of this whisky is attributed to direct heating distillation, in which pot stills are heated with finely powdered natural coal – a traditional method that is now rare, even in Scotland. Reminiscent of the Highland style, this rich, peaty and masculine malt offers notes of spice, coffee, caramel and a touch of smoke. 45% ABV / $129.99

Both Taketsuru and Yoichi produce other expressions with varying age statements, and Nikka also produces a few single-cask and blended varieties. For now, there’s no word on whether any of those are heading stateside, but we’ll keep you posted.

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I travel to Japan on business 2-3 times per year. I’m always impressed at the quality whiskey over there. On my last trip I had the Yoichi.. can’t remember which age, but I do remember liking it! Glad these are coming to the U.S.


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