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The Nikka Whisky Co. was founded by Masataka Taketsuru, who is widely acknowledged as the father of Japanese whisky. Established in 1934 the company has two large distilleries and several blending and bottling plants and is now part of the Asahi Group. Nikka Blended Whisky is the producer’s entry level expression, and offers a purely seductive expression in the typical, inimitable Japanese style. Nikka 12 Year Old is a new-age statement release, which contains a base of coffey grain whisky, and malt whiskies from both Miyagikyo and Yoichi distilleries. Immense craftsmanship has gone in to the production of this new core line, and the end result is a gloriously focussed and seamless expression which combines the best elements of both these historic distilleries. On the nose, the presence of the coffey grain is immediately clear (with notes of roast coconut flakes and banana leaves), but it’s balanced with orchard fruits (green apples and pears) supplied by the Miyagikyo malt and a slight whiff of peat from the Yoichi malt.