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Nikka, Taketsuru 21-Year-Old (Japan)
Taketsuru is a blended malt from Japan’s second-largest distiller, Nikka, and is named in honour of Masataka Taketsuru, often referred to as ‘the father of Japanese whisky,’ and founder of the Nikka company. The component whiskies come from Nikka’s two distilleries, namely Yoichi and Miyagikyo, both of which are designed to produce a wide permutation of spirit types. Yoichi can turn out five million litres of spirit a year and continues to use direct-fired stills, fuelled by coal, making both unpeated and peated spirit. Miyagikyo has a similar capacity and is equipped with four pairs of pot stills, as well as Coffey stills, which are sometimes used to distil malted barley, principally destined for blending with malt spirit from the pot stills. Taketsuru blended malt is available in 12, 17 and 21-year-old expressions and the top of the range 21-year-old offers a sweet, rich nose, with figs, sultanas and Sherry. Smoky molasses develops with time, and beyond that, an icing sugar note. Bold fruit flavours on the palate, ripe oranges and plums, plus ginger and discreet wood smoke. Medium to long in the finish, with lingering smoke and cinnamon. 43.0% ABV, 70cl, £85.95, specialist whisky merchants.

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