Update 2010: Won "World's Best Blended Malt Whisky" at the 2010 World Whisky Awards.
Update: This one won the 2009 International Spirits Challenge whisky trophy and the "World's best blended malt" prize at the 2009 World Whisky Awards.
Update 16.5.2010: Review by Dramtastic"Nikka Taketsuru 21-year-old. 43 per cent alcohol.
This has won the World Whisky Award for best blended malt whisky for the last couple of years so here goes:
Nose: Masses of sweet oak, wheat, peaches, and the first hints I've had from this one of some sherry in the equation. After a while, there are some floral notes.
Palate: Salt, big oak, malt, biscuity, ginger spice, black pepper, peanut shells. Packs a lot more punch than the 43 per cent alcohol content might suggest.
Finish: Is warming and a tad alcoholic. Medium length. It leaves some fresh mintiness and peanuts on the palate. Then becomes a little dry.
Review by Nonjatta contributor - Serge Valentin
Visit Serge`s website, the definitive Whiskyfun.com.
"Taketsuru 21 yo (43%, OB, Pure Malt, +/-2007)
Nose: We’re in the same family as the Pure Malt Red and the Taketsuru 12, but this is obviously more complex and, I must say, quite superb. Once again, we’re in Balvenie territories, with very round notes of quince pie, orange blossom water and apricot jam, the whole then getting even ‘jammier’, with notes of dried longans, figs, dates and a lot of acacia honey. Buttercream, hot brioche. Very round, very soft and very luscious. Reminds me of a Pinot Gris Vendanges Tardives from a good maker. Mouth: Once again, this is very creamy, sweet, rounded and fruity but never ‘lumpish’. Notes of mango pie, Mirabelle jam, Earl Grey tea, bitter oranges marmalade… And then a rather superb spiciness, very mellow but firm. Excellent backbone.
Finish: Longer than the Taketsuru 12 and Red; less sweet, spicier and even a tad peaty/peppery.
Comments: Very excellent, maybe one of the best vatted malts I have had. Masterfully composed. SGP:642 - 90 points." (Serge`s scoring system is explained on this page.)
Price (February 2009): about 10,000 yen for 700 ml.