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Taketsuru pure malt, Nikka whisky (43% ABV)

Star rating: 4/5

Read our round-up of the best Japanese whisky

Named after the father of Japanese whisky, Masataka Taketsuru, this is a blended malt whisky with no age statement. It comprises a mixture of whiskies from Nikka’s Yoichi and Miyagikyo distilleries, apparently in the 10-12-year-old range, with a proportion of those finished in sherry casks.

Golden in the glass, it expresses that sherry finish on the nose, with rich pudding notes intermingling with apple, honeyed grain, a little pepper, some vanilla and wood, plus a touch of coffee.

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Sipped, it’s very intense at the beginning, with the dried fruit, vanilla and pepper joined by that coffee and a hint of tobacco smoke that develops gradually. It has plenty of body, with a slightly oily quality, then finishes quickly with a savoury, almost bitter note.

Water gives space for the elements, but doesn’t change the balance significantly.

Unlike the Nikka Days whisky that also made our best Japanese whisky round-up, this has only the faintest echoes of scotch with an intriguing savoury finish.

The perfect pour

Whilst well suited to sipping neat, a perfect serve for this might be in an old fashioned. Use our traditional recipe or, alternatively, try a combination of 50ml whisky, 7.5ml syrup and a good dash of Angostura bitters stirred over ice for 30 seconds, then strained into a tumbler with fresh ice. Twist a strip of orange zest over the top and enjoy.

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