Nikka presents two limited single malts with apple brandy cask finish

The 100th wedding anniversary of company founder Masataka Taketsuru and his wife Rita is the occasion for the special editions


The Japanese company Nikka is celebrating the 100th wedding anniversary of its founder Masataka Taketsuru and his Scottish wife Jessie Roberta Cowan, commonly known as Rita, with two limited whisky editions: Yoichi Single Malt Apple Brandy Finish and Miyagikyo Single Malt Appel Brandy Finish.

Masataka Taketsuru met his Rita at Glasgow, where he learned the craft of whisky distilling. The couple married on January 8, 1920 and later moved to Japan. Rita stood by her husband in realizing his lifelong dream, the production of Japanese whisky, until her death in January 1961. Their love story is told in the Japanese television series “Massan”.

The fact that the two single malts were given a finish in former apple brandy casks is a tribute to the early business engagement of Nikka founder Masataka Taketsuru: Before he became the father of Japanese whisky by founding his whisky distillery Yoichi in 1934, he operated a trading company for apple juice and jam under the Name DAI NIPPON KAJU. The company was renamed Nikka in 1952 when Taketsuru became successful with his Yoichi Distillery on Hokkaido. In 1969 he opened the Miyagikyo Distillery (also known as Sendai Distillery) to have different whiskies available for blending.


Official Tasting Notes

Yoichi Single Malt Apple Brandy Finish, 47% ABV

Color: intense gold.

Nose: deep and rich fragrance. Peaty notes unfold, alternating between dry and oily, which contrast with the aromatic palette. Gradually, these notes, paired with intense notes of burning tobacco, appear. The Yoichi style prevails powerfully here.

Taste: fine and complex. In contrast to the notes on the nose, the start on the palate is remarkably fruity, with notes of candied apple and pear. A slight peatyness builds up around the taste buds. Aromatic herbs such as lemon balm, chervil, lamb's lettuce and watercress are evidence of a tasty, grassy development of the aromas on the palate. Finally, walnuts and apples reveal the oily and luscious character.

Finish: long-lasting and balanced, with notes of licorice and vanilla, grapefruit zest and lemon, which give the finish an extraordinary liveliness. These notes are underlined by a peatyness paired with a hint of twigs and straw. Notes of nuts and aromas of dried dates complement the taste of roasted bread. The empty glass reminds of notes of ripe apples, peat and hay.

Miyagikyo Single Malt Appel Brandy Finish, 47% ABV

Color: gold with reflections of green hay.

Nose: charming and complex. A perfectly rounded first impression on the nose, which is dominated by notes of apple, vanilla and honey, subtly harmonized with light sage and verbena notes. Notes of apple compote and baked apples develop, creating a fascinating woodiness that comes to the fore with spicy notes such as ginger and cinnamon.

Taste: The start is creamy and lively. The nuances of the aromatic variety of flavors are perfectly reproduced, while the subsequent taste is remarkably malty and reveals an outstanding freshness. Gradually the nuances become more exotic, with notes of pineapple, lychee and kiwi, while the entire palate is covered with acacia honey.

Finish: long and bewitching. With a hint of salt, the finish manifests itself with hay and malt, while tannins gently caress the taste buds. The aftertaste is reminiscent of herbal tea, with rosemary, mint and linden flowers giving a floral dimension overall. The empty glass reminds of some notes of toasted wood such as oak, cypress and pine.

Images: Nikka