At last I can bump down my intemperate review of Taketsuru 12 with the impressions of someone who really knows their whisky inside out. I have always been uncomfortable with my write up of this Nikka pure malt (appended below Serge's review), which I wrote within the first few months of starting this site and in the midst of my first forays into Japanese whisky. It is a bit over the top, I feel. However, the fact remains that I did not really go for the stuff and so have never bought another bottle, making it impossible to nuance my coverage. As usual, Serge has come to the rescue.
Review by Nonjatta contributor - Serge Valentin
Visit Serge`s website, the definitive Whiskyfun.com.
Nikka Taketsuru 12 yo (40%, OB, pure malt, +/-2008)
A pure malt named in honour of Nikka's founder. I already tried the 17 (80) and the 21, that I liked quite a lot (85 points, see below).
Nose: This is very floral and fruity and really reminds me of the Balvenie 10yo. Apple pie, plum jam, dandelions, nectar, vanilla crème and cappuccino. Very good presence and a very clean profile, with very soft tannins in the background.
Mouth: Very, very sweet attack on, well, sweetened apple juice and nutmeg, with more malty notes and cereals after that. Gets then more on roasted nuts and butterscotch, with an amusing salty touch. Not really big nor complex but highly sippable.
Finish: Medium-long, all on vanilla cookies and apple pie topped with a few grains of salt.
Comments: Warning, this is good and highly drinkable. Remember, no refills! SGP:621 – 80 points." (Serge`s scoring system is explained on this page.)
My old review dating from July 4 2007 (remember take notice of this at your own peril):
The first and last impression is of licking a fat covered frying pan. Some of the older Taketsuru pure malts have got good reviews, so I will reserve judgement on the whole line. The 12-year-old had caramel and toffee on the nose. It was very buttery when it first hit the mouth. Fatty. There was a continuation of the buttery flavour - a rounded mellow creaminess with a taste of burnt orange developing - that some people might love. There was a hint of soap and aniseed at a rather uninspiring finish. If you want to buy a pure malt in this price range, I personally would go for Suntory's Hokuto.
Abv 40 per cent
Price (April 2007)
660 ml - 2,566 yen
180 ml - 890 yen