Nikka "From The Barrel" Blended Whisky (750ml)

SKU #1367606 94 points Whisky Advocate

Outer quote mark For Nikka From the Barrel, it’s been a long road to Whisky of the Year. This Japanese blend made its U.S. debut in 2018, but its inception dates back more than 30 years. In 1985, Nikka Whisky Distilling Company’s blending team, led by Shigeo Sato, designed this whisky using both malt and grain whiskies produced at Nikka’s Yoichi and Miyagikyo Distilleries. When taking into account the full array of casks—bourbon barrels, sherry butts, refill hogsheads, and more—over 100 different constituent whiskies are enlisted. “From the Barrel” suggests barrel proof, but that’s not the case. The blenders made a conscious decision to bottle at 51.4% (derived from 90 British Proof) to deliver maximum flavor impact. They succeeded. Notably balanced and elegant, the colorful palette of whiskies combines for tremendous depth of flavor. Soft, sweet butterscotch and orange peel meet poached pears and stone fruits. Earthiness appears as dried autumn leaves, coffee, old oak, and tobacco. Among the tangle of spices, tasters identified chili pepper, allspice, cloves, and universally adored its ginger note. Finally, wisps of smoke and sea salt. Overall, it feels generously malty, with the grain whisky lending broad sweetness and supple mouthfeel across the long finish. Beyond its delightful flavors, Nikka From the Barrel presents some paradoxes worthy of contemplation over a glass. It is a classic, yet new to the U.S. It is typically Japanese, yet singularly magnificent. Jeffery Lindenmuth Inner quote mark

K&L Notes

The #1 Whiskey of the Year on Whiskey Advocates Top 20 list in 2018 is now being offered without an allocation limit for the first time thanks to our special relationship with the importer. The wonderful Nikka From the Barrel has been one of the most sought-after offerings from this special distiller based outside of Sapporo. It's previously not been available in the US due to the USA restriction on the 500ml bottle size, but thankfully the owners designed a 750ml version for the US market. This is a blend of many of the Nikka whiskies we know and love dumped and mingled for further marrying in a large vat at the distillery, hence "from the barrel." It's one of the few higher proof offerings available from any Japanese distiller and has a unique character. While the Hibiki Harmony might be the most popular blended Japanese whisky available in the US, From The Barrel is easily the most flavorful. This is nicely aged Yoichi, Miyagikyo, Coffey Grain and Imported Malt further aged post blending and bottled at 102.8 proof. No wonder people are going rabid for the stuff, it's absolutely delicious!

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Price: $74.99

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Product Reviews:

By: Hope Cooc | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/4/2023 | Send Email
This full-bodied whisky is full of surprises. On the nose, you get cracked pink peppercorn, oak, poached pear, and floral notes. The pallet starts off with sweet toffee followed by hits of cocoa and zesty baking spices. Nikka from the barrel is well-balanced and is wonderful on its own, but also enjoyable in a Manhattan or a high ball.
Top Value!

By: Andrew Whiteley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/3/2023 | Send Email
It is an absolute thrill whenever we get to take the time to write up what are otherwise instant sell out items. Nikka From The Barrel was one of those secret treats for those with insider knowledge who visited Japan long before the massive Japanese whisky boom of the last decade. With the intro of the 750ml version for the US market and the subsequent winning of Whiskey Of The Year from Whiskey Advocate in 2018, the secret was out. As a consequence, it has been all but impossible to get our hands on a decent quantity of stock since it's domestic debut. In production since 1985, this high proof rarity is the consummate expression of Nikka - after all, blending for complexity, harmony, and completeness, is the hallmark of most great Japanese whisky - even the single malts are built upon many different lots of varied distillate from the single distiller that produces them typically. When all of Nikka's whisky sources come together thoughtfully and are allowed to marry over a long period with the slightest and slowest reduction in proof, the result is pure magic. It is robust and yet elegant in every stage of tasting. The nose is soft and sweet, but powerful, helped by the higher ABV. Orange zest, orchard fruit, candied ginger snaps, sweet cooked grains, and loads of butterscotch, vanilla, and oak that will instantly satisfy jaded Bourbon drinkers but also offer something new. On the palate, more of the same but deftly combined with a savory edge and the smoky flavors of toasted oak. A little more raisined fruit than on the nose and a sultry mix of dark chocolate and pink salt. While the flavors border on perfect, it is the texture that really sets this whisky apart. It's so much more full than many whiskeys on the market today, it has that textural je ne sais quoi of vintage whisky that is so rare to see in contemporary offerings. The finish is cool, long, and sweetly spiced. While this whisky defines easy categorization, it is safe to say that any lover of brown water will find it an enjoyable and flavorful pour at a very fair price point.

By: David Othenin-Girard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/3/2023 | Send Email
It's been a long time since we've had a chance to sit down and enjoy a bit of "From the Barrel." That's because this product has been next to impossible to lock down since it's award winning release and 2018 Whisky of the Year award. But since long before that I've coveted this little bottle and it's odd square shape, not for its rarity, but for it's incredible character. While the whisky does not meet the criteria for 'Japanese Whisky" in the new voluntary labelling system that the large Japanese producers have developed, the reason why makes it even more desirable in my book. This is almost certainly a blend of the well known single malts and grain whiskies made at Nikka's two distilleries (Yoichi, Miyagiko, and Coffey grain & malt), but also their exceptional Scottish distillery, Ben Nevis. These whiskies are all carefully blended into a marrying vat and slowly lowered to a hefty 51.4% abv for bottling. It remains one of the most characterful and charming Japanese made whiskies on the market and I think, along with Hibiki, should be considered a benchmark in the category -despite not qualifying technically as such. Here we go! The nose starts rich with vanilla and oak, almost bordering on bourbon levels of vanilla and caramel, but pointed with rich roasted espresso bean and tiny wisps of smoke and green earthy tones. The palate is full bodied with plenty of sweet cream, butterscotch and powerful barrel spice. This doesn't need any water, but loves to play on the rocks if you choose. It's also my absolute go to in a high ball these days, adding richness and character that many other lesser options lack. It's difficult to deny how damned appealing and drinkable it is -offering character without being challenging- and I also love that the price hasn't exploded exponentially like so many other hard to get Japanese whiskies. This is one of those whiskies I always buy a back up or two since I know it's going to get drunk.

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