Nikka: From The Barrel (Japanese Blended Whisky:  No Age: 51.4% abv)

Visual: A darkened apricot amber.

Viscosity: Quite fast thick streaks.

Nose: Definite alcohol. Sugared almonds. Rich fruitcake and treacle. Brandy cream and vanilla. Water makes very honeys and adds slight planed wood.

Body: Lots of red or Muscat grapes. Honey and golden syrup. Apricot. Water makes very sweet, honeycomb and some white grapes.

Finish: Spiced rum. Red grapes. Dried apricot. Still alcohol feel. Milk chocolate. Water adds distinct plums.

Conclusion:  Now that’s got a tingle. Spicy and sweet.  Initially I would have guessed this was mainly sherry cask, but investigation suggests primarily bourbon aged.  I was pretty damn shocked when I found that out.  Lots of plum influence and honeyed sweetness which take time to develop as the water mellows it out.

It aint a bad whisky even without the water, if a tad burning, but after a bit of water experimentation it became fantastic. Dark fruit and sweetness, a variety of sweet flavours that again would seem to say sherry influence but with now I know it does have the definite bourbon sweetness.

It is a rich mix of plum wine and mead in a whisky, with a fruit cake body. So smooth and sweet. It is comparable to Yamazaki 18, but much more rich and creamy.  Blended whisky has done itself a massive favour with this one.

Very good. If you like fruity whisky and pass this by just because it is a blend then you are missing a treat.

Background: Drunk during a visit to Bournemouth. The local pubs and restaurants seemed to have a higher than average amount of Japanese whisky so I thought I would give some a try.  The staff seemed pretty enthusiastic about the whole tasting note thing and were happy to talk shop about the whiskies which gave a nice feel.   Coming as a treat after a fine meal also helped.