It’s been a while since I did a new review and that’s because two of my wisdom teeth were pulled last week. Alcohol wasn’t a really good idea with the painkillers I got and somehow even without the pain medication I thought it wasn’t a good idea to pour 60% ABV booze in an open wound. Anyway, since the weekend I’ve been drinking again, with a ridiculous amount of booze on Saturday (hamburgers and mezcal), but yesterday I thought it was about time I did a review again.
This Nikka whisky is one I bought in 2007 and have been going through very slowly and very carefully since. Mostly because it’s a fairly rare and awesome dram which is way beyond my reach if I ever wanted to replace it. This stuff has gotten so ridiculously expensive over the last year or two, and even before that prices were steeply on the rise as well. According to Whiskybase, this bottle will set you back € 600, and that price is probably from a year or two ago.
Miyagikyo is Nikka’s second distillery after Yoichi, and sits much further south, quite near the Fukushima area. It is also known as Nikka Sendai, but somehow at a certain point in time they stopped using that name in favor of Miyagikyo. According to good Japanese custom in whisky making there isn’t really a specific style of whisky coming from the distillery, apart from that it’s not peated and most of at least the single casks are quite heavily sherried.
The sherry is obvious, quite so. There’s a scent reminiscent of Oloroso, but with much more alcohol and impact. Lots of oak, again to good Japanese tradition. There’s dried fruits, all in the darker corner. Dates, plums, raisins. It took me a while to get a satisfactory description, but it really smells like sandalwood. There’s also a whiff of matches and almonds.
The palate is quite fierce although I think the years in the bottle have taken the alcohol to a bit below 60%. It still is quite hot though, with fiery oak and chili flavors. The sandalwood is present here too, as is a thing that reminds me of some sorts of incense. Sweet dried fruits, plums, dates. But mostly a lot of really great wood driven flavors. It’s really rich, and really dry.
The finish mellows very quickly to a lovely warming feeling. It’s full, rich and quite sherried too. Oloroso again. Lots of oak and very long.
I’m wondering if I’m doing this whisky justice, to be honest. It’s a really great dram that I am thoroughly in love with. This kind of whisky is quite rare and getting rarer. Especially in the collections of mere mortals like myself.
The scents and flavors of whisky like this can keep you occupied for an entire evening because there is a lot going on, and it’s just so, so good. I generally like whisky in which the spirit is a bit more clearly discernible, but when the oak is so well done as in this one, with that flavor of sandalwood added, I’m game!
It’s a shame stuff like this is quickly vanishing from my collection and will, most likely, not be replaced anytime soon.
Nikka Miyagikyo 1989-2007, 18yo, 60%, single cask #105419. Long, long gone.