Nikka Coffey Still Japanese Grain Whisky (750ml)
Sweet, with subtle, crisp, nutty oak, then comes fudge, ripe banana, and peach. The overall effect is like eating vanilla ice cream with toffee fudge and hazelnut sprinkles. The structure is thick and physical, the palate sweet and quite fat, with light hints of raspberry, fruit salad. A jag of acidity freshens the delivery on the finish. With water there’s more toffee, and it becomes slightly more yielding, with less oak. For me the gold standard of grain. (DB, Fall 2015)
The name of this whisky has nothing to do with coffee—rather, it's named for a type of still invented by Aneas Coffey, which is used to make this golden spirit. It offers mild vanilla-pear aromatics and is relatively light and silky on the palate. Look for a light vanilla sweetness at first, which gives way to a rounded dark chocolate note and baking spice finish. Recommended for highballs and other mixed drinks. (KN)
Grain whisky is one of the least understood components of the whisky world. When you sip a blended Scotch like Johnnie Walker or Suntory's Hibiki, you're drinking a blend of two types of whiskies--both single malt and grain--hence the term "blend" (many people assume the "blend" refers to the blend of various distilleries). While we've gone out of our way here at K&L to help our customers understand 100% malted-barley single-malt whisky, we've never really talked very much about grain whisky--mostly because there's very little of it available! Grain whisky is made from corn, wheat and unmalted barley on a continuous still--much like vodka is produced. The Coffey Still is a type of continuous still that can pump out grain whisky without having to alternate batches. Because of the efficiency and cheaper production cost, grain whisky has taken on a bit of a bad rap. This reputation is entirely undeserved, however, especially when delicious grain whisky like the new Nikka Coffey Still is available. This is classic grain whisky--round vanilla, hints of caramel, and an herbaceous, spicy note that brings some pop on the finish. NOTE: While grain whisky can be enjoyed on its own, I find its flavors are much more impressive on the rocks and when splashed with a bit of soda. The Nikka Coffey Still is perhaps the best grain whisky we've yet seen available on the American market. We need more whiskies like this! ASAP!