Nikka Coffey Grain Japanese Whisky Review


By: Steven Rodia

Proof:  90Proof (45% ABV), No Age Statement (Generally aged between 8-12 years)

Rating: 4 Barrels (4 out of 5)

Produced in Nikka’s Miyagikyo location, this whisky was distilled using a Coffey still imported from Scotland in the early 1960’s.  Coffey stills are said to give the flavors of a whisky more character than the modern continuous still can impart.  The grain used in the mash bill is mostly corn with a small amount of barley.  Normally, this type of grain whisky would be used to round-out blends, but Nikka decided this expression was quite tasty on it’s own.  The characteristics of this whisky flirt with those of bourbon, which is what drew me to sample this delightful spirit.

Tasting Notes: After letting it breathe for 10 minutes, I tasted this Japanese whisky neat.

Nose: Probably one of my favorite parts of this dram was soaking in the nose.  Sweetness with overtones of butterscotch and honey dance with a creamy background of coconut and vanilla.  There is a slight underlying scent of cinnamon.

First Sip: The whisky enters the mouth with a burst of sweetness.  The butterscotch and honey are back with an ensemble of tropical fruit that explode in an instant.  Corn notes are rich and abundant.

Mouth Feel: This whisky feels slick without any astringency or coating characteristics.  There is no perceptible burn from the alcohol as the spirit washes over the tongue.

Finish: The finish is clean and filled with cinnamon, vanilla, and warmth from the alcohol.  There’s just a slight hint of dryness after the whisky leaves the palate.

Summary: I don’t often find a Japanese grain whisky that is this delightful to sip.  Nikka really did a nice job with this release.  I would recommend it to anyone wanting tasting experience that edges closely to an American bourbon.  For the whisk(e)y lover in your life that has never tried or enjoyed Japanese products, this would make a great gift.