Nikka Taketsuru Pure Malt Japanese Whisky (750ml)
So you've heard that Japanese whisky is quite popular these days. You're right; it is. But while the mainstream choice is always going to be Suntory, it's Nikka that is quietly bringing the goods to your local boutique retailer. Founded by Masataka Taketsuru in 1936, the Nikka whisky company is one of Japan's best kept secrets (at least with other Americans). Taketsuru studied whisky production in Scotland during the 1910s and brought that knowledge back to Nippon to make Scottish style whisky at home. Nikka's Pure Malt Taketsuru is a marriage of single malts from both the Yoichi distillery on Hokkaido, and the Miyagikyo distillery near Sendai. Using a formula of different flavors--sherry, malty, vanillic--made from whiskies aged in different types of casks, the aromas are heady and full of oily grains. The palate is soft, supple, and full of fruit with a shift towards sherry and vanilla at the back. Bring this to a party and you'll be the star. Most people have never had it, so pour it blind and watch them say Macallan.