nikka coffey maltNikka Coffey Malt is not just a poorly translated spelling of “coffee.” (It’s a common question–you’d be surprised.) Instead, it refers to Aeneas Coffey, whose 1930s continuous-still design significantly impacted distilling, and whose eponymous work can be found at Nikka Whisky Company’s Miyagikyo distillery in Sendai, Japan.

Nikka Coffey Malt is a new entrant to the US market and a follow up to Nikka Coffey Grain, which hit shelves in 2013. Nikka Coffey Malt is distilled from 100% malted barley with that Coffey still, which should mean plenty of flavor and depth. Let’s take it for a spin.

On the nose, you’ll find lots of spice, citrus, oak and honey. Take a sip and more of those spices come to the forefront, led by clove and cinnamon. The citrus is there, too, most notably lemon and orange peel. But here an interesting, rum-like molasses sweetness begins to emerge alongside some butterscotch. Things stay sweet on the finish, with tropical notes like coconut and banana, but there’s still plenty of oak and spice to keep things in check.

This is interesting stuff. Diving into Japanese whisky you’re inclined to think about scotch, given the malt makeup. But this one’s a real departure from most drams you’ll find in Scotland. Nikka Coffey Malt tastes a bit young and brash, but it’s flavorful, sweet and spicy and seems to offer something new each time we take a sip.

— 45% ABV
— $75

CE Rating: ★★★

Like that? Drink this:
Nikka Taketsuru Pure Malt 12 Year Old
An Intro to Japanese Whisky

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