Anchor Distilling

Nikka Whisky

Sendai & Hokkaido, Japan

Single Malt, Pure Malt & Grain Whisky Expressions From The Distilleries Founded By The Father Of Japanese Whisky

Learning The Art Of Whisky

The founder of Nikka and the father of Japanese whisky, Masataka Taketsuru came from a long line of sake brewers dating back to 1733. Destined to continue the legacy of making spirits, he trained as a chemist and was quickly recruited by the liquor company Settsu Shuzo. With a plan to make Japanese whisky, Settsu Shuzo sent Taketsuru to Scotland in 1918. He enrolled at the University of Glasgow, and became the first Japanese to study the art of making whisky. He took chemistry courses at the university and apprenticed at distilleries, learning first-hand from craftsmen and training as a blender. During his apprenticeship, Taketsuru met Jessie Roberta Cowan, a Scotswoman, with whom he fell madly in love. They married a year later. Jessie changed her name to Rita, and moved with Taketsuru back to Japan, to become his eternal muse throughout his career.

A Distiller Without A Distillery

Armed with Scotland's distilling knowledge and a beautiful wife, Taketsuru returned home to discover that the economy had taken a turn for the worse. The project he had undertaken would never see the light of day, and he was out of a job in less than a year. Nevertheless, the determined Taketsuru powered on and found work with the company Kotobukiya. He used what he had learned in Scotland to create a Japanese style of whisky, even adopting the Scottish convention of spelling of whiskey without the "e."

The Father Of Japanese Whisky

After a 10-year contract with Kotobukiya, Taketsuru set out on his own to scout the land for the site of his future distillery. He built Japan's northernmost distillery, Yoichi, on the island of Hokkaido, and Nikka was born in 1934. In 1936, Taketsuru began distilling his own whisky at Nikka, and released the first bottle in 1940 despite the onset of war. Yoichi never ceased production, and to this day still crafts whisky in the traditional manner with pot stills heated by direct coal fire-a practice that is rare and no longer used in Scotland.

A Second Expression Of Nikka

Taketsuru's early successes prompted the development of a second distillery in 1969, this time built on the island of Honshu in the foothills of the Miyagi prefecture, two hours north of Tokyo. This area is known for its water and is famed for hot springs and waterfalls. The distillery is surrounded by mountains and sandwiched between two freshwater rivers, providing fantastic humidity and air quality conditions for its soft and mild malt.

  • Distiller of the Year - Icons of Whisky, 2016
  • Distillery Manager of the Year - Icons of Whisky, 2016

Products:

Nikka Whisky Taketsuru Pure Malt Range

These flagship products are named after Masataka Taketsuru, the founder of Nikka Whisky and father of Japanese whisky. Taketsuru Pure Malt is a combination of whisky from the Yoichi and Miyagikyo distilleries, creating a completely new expression of Nikka Whisky.

Nikka Whisky Taketsuru Pure Malt
Nikka Whisky Taketsuru Pure Malt

Taketsuru Pure Malt is a combination of whisky from both Nikka distilleries: Yoichi and Miyagikyo. It's matured in a combination of sherry butts, bourbon barrels and new American oak. Its gentle malt flavor, fruitiness and well-balanced approachability make it a perfect entry point into the range of Nikka whiskies. 43% ABV

  • Best Japanese Blended Malt Whisky - World Whiskies Awards, 2016
  • 94 Points, Gold Medal, Exceptional - International Review of Spirits, 2015
  • 93 Points, Excellent, Highly Recommended - Ultimate Spirits Challenge, 2015
Nikka Taketsuru 12 Year Old
Taketsuru Pure Malt 12 Year Old

Taketsuru Pure Malt 12 Year Old is the perfect marriage of Yoichi and Miyagikyo. Its gentle malt flavor, fruitiness and extremely well-balanced taste make it a perfect entry point into the world of Nikka. Sherry butts, bourbon barrels, new American oak and re-charred casks were chosen for this expression. 43% ABV

  • ★★★★ Highly Recommended - F. Paul Pacult's Spirit Journal, 2014
  • Double Gold Medal - WSWA Tasting Competition, 2012
  • 93 Points - Wine Enthusiast
Nikka Taketsuru 17 Year Old
Taketsuru Pure Malt 17 Year Old

Taketsuru Pure Malt 17 Year Old has a perfect balance of gentle malt flavors and spiciness. This 17 year old whisky is aged in a combination of casks from Yoichi and Miyagikyo. Sherry butts provide the key component, with bourbon barrels as a complement. 43% ABV

  • World's Best Blended Malt, Best Japanese Blended Malt - World Whiskies Awards, 2015
  • ★★★★ Highly Recommended - F. Paul Pacult's Spirit Journal, 2014
  • World's Best Blended Malt Whisky - World Whiskies Awards, 2014
Nikka Taketsuru 21 Year Old
Taketsuru Pure Malt 21 Year Old

Taketsuru Pure Malt 21 Year Old features the finest whisky from both Nikka distilleries, creating a whisky with ultimate elegance and sophistication. Comprised mainly from sherry butts and new American oak barrels constructed in Japan at the Nikka cooperages, this whisky is complex with a long-lasting finish that showcases the 21 years of maturation. 43% ABV

  • ★★★★ Highly Recommended - F. Paul Pacult's Spirit Journal, 2014
  • 95 Points, "Top 50 Spirits of 2014" - Wine Enthusiast, 2014
  • World's Best Blended Malt Whisky - World Whiskies Awards, 2011
Nikka Whisky Miyagikyo Single Malt
Nikka Whisky Miyagikyo Single Malt

This is a single malt from the Miyagikyo distillery, Nikka's second distillery built in 1969. The founder Masataka Taketsuru chose this site in the mountains of Sendai to contrast with his first distillery, Yoichi, located in the coastal area. Using less peaty malt and distilled in a pot still heated by indirect steam, Miyagikyo single malt has an elegant fruitiness and a distinctive aroma with a strong Sherry cask influence. 45% ABV

Nikka Miyagikyo 12 Year Old
Nikka Whisky Miyagikyo Single Malt Whisky 12 Year Old

Nikka Whisky Miyagikyo Single Malt Whisky 12 Year Old is an expression from the Miyagikyo distillery in the northern part of mainland Japan. This unique natural environment and the steam-heated distillation at low temperatures creates a different character from that of Yoichi. The malt whisky from Miyagikyo has a silky touch and an exceptional delicacy. This 12 year old whisky is aged primarily in bourbon barrels and sherry butts, with some new American oak, using re-made and re-charred casks. 45% ABV

  • 95 Points, Gold Medal, Exceptional - International Review of Spirits, 2015
  • ★★★ Recommended - F. Paul Pacult's Spirit Journal, 2014
  • Gold Medal - International Spirits Challenge, 2013
Nikka Whisky Yoichi Single Malt
Nikka Whisky Yoichi Single Malt

This is a single malt from the Yoichi distillery, Nikka's first distillery built in 1934. The founder Masataka Taketsuru chose Yoichi in Hokkaido because of the similar environmental conditions to Scotland, where he learned whisky making. Yoichi single malt has pleasant peaty notes and smokiness originating from the traditional direct coal-fired distillation as well as a briny hint delivered by the sea breeze during the aging process. 45% ABV

Nikka Yoichi 15 Year Old
Nikka Whisky Yoichi Single Malt Whisky 15 Year Old

Nikka Whisky Yoichi Single Malt Whisky 15 Year Old is an expression made solely at the Yoichi distillery, on the northern island of Hokkaido. The distillation process at Yoichi has remained very traditional to this day, and still uses coal fire-heated pot stills. The malt whisky from Yoichi has pleasant peaty notes and a slight saltiness delivered by the sea wind from the nearby coast. This 15 year old whisky is aged in a combination of new American oak, sherry butts and bourbon barrels, with re-made and re-charred barrels utilized. 45% ABV

  • ★★★★ Highly Recommended - F. Paul Pacult's Spirit Journal, 2014
  • 90 Points - The Tasting Panel, 2013
  • Gold Medal - WSWA Tasting Competition, 2013
Nikka Coffey Grain
Nikka Whisky Coffey Grain

Nikka Whisky Coffey Grain is a grain whisky, which is typically used for blending but rarely bottled on its own. The secret behind Nikka's grain whisky is the unique flavor generated by Coffey stills, which are traditional continuous stills patented by Aeneas Coffey in the 1830s. The rich corn and touch of honeyed citrus taste of Coffey Grain is also excellent in cocktails. 45% ABV

  • 90 Points - Wine Enthusiast, 2015
  • ★★★★ Highly Recommended - F. Paul Pacult's Spirit Journal, 2014
  • Chairman's Trophy, 93 Points, Excellent, Highly Recommended - Ultimate Spirits Challenge, 2014
Nikka Coffey Malt
Nikka Whisky Coffey Malt

Distilled from 100% malted barley through a Coffey still, which is rarely done given the complexity and skill required, Nikka Coffey Malt Whisky boasts notes of cinnamon, clove, lemon and rich oak, making it ideal for sipping neat or as the base spirit in a cocktail. The Coffey stills contribute the unique depth and flavor of the distillate, not found in modern column stills of today. 45% ABV