From The Barrel, Nikka whisky (51.4% ABV)
Star rating: 4.5/5
A flagship blended whisky from Nikka, this is one you might have noticed popping up in bars and in the spirits sections of many shops. It’s a blend of Nikka’s Miyagikyo and Yoichi single malts with their grain whisky, given time to harmonise in fairly neutral reuse barrels before bottling.
From The Barrel is a lightish gold in the glass. On the nose, you get spicy apple, a tang of pear and a little smoke, along with touches of orange zest and vanilla. Like the Taketsuru Pure Malt, also featured in our round-up of the best Japanese whisky, there’s an intense opening that’s spicy but cleanly structured with a hint of nut skin tannins balancing the sweet toffee and fruity notes.
The finish is fairly long, but not overbearing; the fruit and sweetness dry out with the tannins and it gets darker – think cocoa or coffee, with a gentle spray of seawater.
From The Barrel does what you imagine Nikka would want from a standard-bearer of their whiskies, showing many of the flavour elements in an approachable way, without sacrificing complexity.
The perfect pour
Great to sip, the richness is given interest by the other flavour elements, although it’s a good idea to lengthen it with a little water (ice, optional).
For a cocktail, it would slide very happily into a manhattan. Try our sweet manhattan recipe, or alternatively go for a combination of two parts From The Barrel to one part sweet vermouth (a punchy Antica Formula wouldn’t go amiss here), plus a dash of Angostura stirred with fresh ice, then strained into a coupe glass. A little orange zest garnish would chime well with the fruity notes of the whisky.
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This review was last updated in April 2020. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.