This is one of three pure malts marketed by Nikka under one word colour titles - Red, Black and White. The "Red" is mainly based on whisky from Miyagikyou distillery. The "Black" is mainly based on whisky from Yoichi and the "White" is founded on whisky from Islay in Scotland. Since these are designated "pure malts", I believe they have more than one distillery`s whisky in them (that is the normal reason for using that term as apposed to "single malt" from one distillery) and I think "Red" has some Scottish whisky in it. This is what they call a "haafu" over here, like my son.
Review by Nonjatta contributor - Serge Valentin
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Nikka Pure malt 'Red' (43%, OB, +/-2002)
Nose: There’s more peat than in the Taketsuru 12, but we wouldn’t say this is peaty whisky. Rather grassy but not too much, malty but not too much, fruity (oranges, marmalade, quinces) but not too much… We’re getting closer to the Taketsuru after a while, with delicate floral notes (yellow flowers) but… Not too much. Keyword: balance.
Mouth: Once again, this is bigger whisky than the Taketsuru, but also less smooth and less immediately drinkable. The attack is rather punchy, all on cooked fruits and cornflakes, but it drops a bit after that. Mead and something perfumy. Baklavas? Then gets quite dry.
Finish: Medium-long, maltier and more caramelly, and then maybe a tad soapy in the aftertaste. Again, a little salt.
Comments: Good balance but I think I liked both the ‘Black’ and the ‘White’ versions better. This ‘Red’ lacks oomph on the palate, in my opinion, but it’s still good, flawless malt whisky. SGP:432 – 78 points." (Serge`s scoring system is explained on this page.)
For further information about the colour pure malt range, refer to Nikka`s Japanese language page here.
Price (Feb 2009): About 2,000 yen for 500 ml bottle.