Woodman Wines & Spirits present the Japanese whiskies of Nikka…

Unless you’re a true connoisseur, you don’t typically think Japan when the subject turns to whisky. However, Japan has been distilling whisky as far back as the 1700s, just not in any form that would be considered worthy of export.

Things changed in 1918, when a young man named Masataka Taketsuru journeyed to Scotland (hardly an easy thing to do in those days) to learn what he could about whisky making from the masters. He enrolled in the University of Glasgow, becoming the first Japanese person to study the art of whisky making, and apprenticed at a number of famous Scottish malt distilleries before bringing his knowledge, and his new Scottish wife Rita, back to Japan.

In 1934, after helping design and build the Yamazaki distillery in Osaka, Taketsuru (an innate perfectionist) branched out on his own, establishing the Nikka Whisky Distilling Co., with a distillery located in Yoichi, on the island of Hokkaido, in the northern part of the country. This area seemed, to him, to most closely replicate the Scottish landscape.

Fast forward to around the year 2000, and Jim Murray, the British whisky guru was loudly singing the praises of Japanese whiskies. “The reason…,” in his words,”…was simple: the extraordinary attention to detail and tradition that was paid by Japanese distillers, those at Yoichi in particular, and the touching refusal to cut costs and corners.

As Japan’s whiskies increasingly won awards – and won over consumers – the predictable happened: stocks, almost literally, evaporated. Trying to find age-dated Japanese whiskies – or any Japanese whiskies, anywhere – became next to impossible.

So it is with considerable delight and pride that we welcome the return of Nikka whiskies back to the Ontario market. Nikka has made a commitment to Ontario, and we look forward to a long relationship with this iconic distiller.

Explore the range of unique, critically acclaimed and award-winning Nikka whiskies. The perfect gift for the whisky lover on your list… or maybe just for you.

Jason Woodman

Nikka Coffey Grain Whisky


LCBO No. 10227, 45.6 alc./vol., 700 mL
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A grain whisky from a continuous still probably shouldn’t be this good…but it is very good, indeed. In fact, whisky expert Jim Murray has rated past vintages Japanese Whisky of the Year three times over the course of five years. Fragrant, biscuity notes swill around dollops of pear, with just a mild touch of smokiness. Soft and mellow in the mouth, with surprising complexity that leads to a long, mildly fruity finish.

The secret behind this whisky is the unique flavour generated by Coffey stills, which are traditional continuous stills patented by Aeneas Coffey in the 1830s.

Whisky, from any part of the globe, does not come more soft or silky than this…” Jim Murray, Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible

Nikka Taketsuru Pure Malt Whisky


LCBO No. 449132, 43.0 alc./vol., 700 mL
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One of Nikka’s signature whiskies that showcases their artful way of blending and perfecting flavours. Named in honour of their founder, it’s a combination of whisky from both Nikka distilleries: Yoichi and Miyagikyo.

This “pure malt” (aka, “vatted malt” aka a blend of single malts) offers up aromas suggestions of malted grain, citrus peel, and some slightly earthy nuances that lead into a fairly robustly-structured whisky, yet that remains elegant and balanced. There’s a dash of cayenne pepperiness in there as well to make things interesting. The finish is long and memorable, with a little spiciness that hangs on.

Best Japanese Blended Malt Whisky | World Whiskies Awards 2016

Nikka Miyagikyo Single Malt Whisky


LCBO No. 10224, 45.0 alc./vol., 700 mL
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Constructed in 1969, Miyagikyo is the second of Nikka’s two distilleries. Stylistically, it can probably best be seen as the “highland” to the Yoichi’s more “island” style. There’s some evident sherry cask aging going on here, resulting in aromatics that feature sultana, baking spice, pear drop, and orange peel. Dry and elegantly structured, with beautiful balance and just a suggestion of smoke on the palate. A subtle fruitiness reappears as the flavours trail off.

A perfect introduction to Japanese whisky: a rather light body but still a whole bouquet of delicious flavours. Definitely one of the best “value for money” Japanese whiskies on the market today.” Ann-Sophie Bigot, Distiller.com


Nikka Yoichi Single Malt Whisky


LCBO No. 10242, 45.6 alc./vol., 700 mL
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The first Nikka distillery, built in 1934 on Hokkaido, Japan’s second main island. Those who appreciate a more “seaside” style with a bit of peat – or those who like the concept a malt aged close to the sea but find the Islay expressions just a bit too much – will really appreciate Nikka’s flagship whisky. This is an intriguing whisky, with delicate – though obvious – notes of brine and smoke. However, these are tempered by floral/lemongrass undertones. Powerful, but in no way overpowering, it offers a collage of flavours that nicely combine salty, smoky, malty, and fruity…with just a hint of cracked pepper in the end note.

Twenty years ago Jim Murray declared Yoichi as “one of the top five distilleries in the world“. Try this lovely whisky and you’ll understand why.

Japanese Whisky of the Year | Whisky Advocate 2016

Nikka From The Barrel Whisky


LCBO No. 10226, 51.4 alc./vol, 500 mL
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A blend of multiple types of malt and grain reserved by Nikka and bottled “from the barrel” at cask strength. Unless you have a rather strong constitution (and perhaps an ironclad palate) you’ll want to dilute this slightly to take the heat down a bit – and “unlock” the aromas. Your dilution factor will obviously affect the profile of the whisky, but expect a nose redolent of orange marmalade, treacle, toasted nuts, nougat, and cocoa powder. This is a big, powerful, warm whisky that sports flavour notes of toffee, buttered nuts, dark chocolate, and spice cake. In spite of the power and complexity, it retains Nikka’s “house style” that emphasizes impeccable balance over brute power.

Whisky of the Year | Whisky Advocate 2018

For our complete product list, please visit us at www.woodmanws.com or contact us at 416 767 5114 to speak with a sales representative.

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