Nikka: Coffey Malt Whisky (Japanese Malt Whisky: No Age Statement: 45% ABV)
Visual: Heavy gold.
Viscosity: General slow thin streaks with a few quick ones breaking out.
Nose: Banoffee. Coffee granules. Heather. Light but sharp lemon notes. Water really opens up with coffee cake and walnuts plus some Belgian chocolate.
Body: Smooth and lightly oily. Coffee cake. Dried apricot. Lemon notes. Water makes more coffee cake, vanilla. Cream and some lemon cream comes out along with banoffee.
Finish: Coffee cake. Soft lime juice. Belgian chocolate. Waters gives more fresh lemon sponge like notes and marmalade.
Conclusion: ok, before we go into this in any depth, I have one thing to say … I am pretty much sure that I am not being psychosomatic here. Yes this thing is called Coffe(e)y malt whisky, so yes I am thinking about coffee, but I am sure that is not the reason I caught coffee notes in this. I had tried the Coffey Grain Whisky just before and that was fresh faced, fruity, light and utterly lacking in coffee. So, when I try this, and I swear to Hagen that it tastes seriously like coffee cake, I am fairly sure I am not fibbing.
There are still hints of the fruitiness that I saw in the grain whisky – I presume attributable to the fact they were both made in the same style coffey still. Despite that the core is very close to what I think of as a highland malt texture, but smoothed to within an inch of its life. Still slightly oily, but definitely no burn, just slick as can be – definitely leans heavily in the dessert flavours as an inspiration – Coffee cake, Belgian chocolate and vanilla notes, The is especially true with even just a little water, it isn’t that this needs smoothing – I don’t think it could be smoother -but it opens up lighter, creamier and rich flavours.
Water also helps some of the heavier and thicker fruit notes to come out – you now get bright and zinging marmalade amongst the main body. I’m actually writing than I less than I should be at this point as I am too distracted just enjoying it – Banoffee notes come out late on in the body to match their earlier show in the aroma. This is wonderfully smooth, rich and complex with lovely contrast of fruit notes to coffee sponge cake.
A wonderful experience from a wonderful whisky experiment. Now the big question. This isn’t really grain, it aint single malt due to the still type. It is excellent, but what the hell is it?
Background: Ok, this is a pure malt whisky made in Coffey column stills. AKA grain whisky stills. So, technically not a single malt whisky, but neither exactly grain. Anyway, I tried this at Bristol Whisky Show 2015 and liked it so much I grabbed a bottle to take back. So, completely unbiased notes today. Drunk whilst continuing the 8 bit music kick with some Andrey Avkhimovich.