When Aeneas Coffey invented the continuous column still, the scotch industry hadn’t taken to the contraption very well, it was in a sense an unorthodox and almost heretic change from the well settled and established pot still. Though the Irish and Americans gobbled the technology, little might have Aeneas ever imagined that his invention would have found home half way across the world, towards the East.
Nikka had invested in two continuous stills in the 1960s, to take advantage of this difference in distillation and its influence on the wort from the more common pot stills. The Nikka Coffey Grain is produced at their Miyagikya distillery, made primarily from corn with some proportion of malted barley to aid with the fermentation. The wort is distilled continuously and not in two seperate stills as in the case with pot stills. The expression was introduced towards the second half of 2012, with a malt version released a little less than two years later. The bottling is mildly tinted, with a pink labelling and a design that is minimalistic but yet pleasant and serene.
ABV : 45%
Eye : Yellow gold | Artificially coloured
Nose : Vanilla and oranges, woody with some earthiness to it. Essential oils with flakes of cinnamon, some toasted cereals, plums, peaches and coconut shavings; quietly settling into something mildly savoury.
Taste : Vanilla, and cream, interleaved with layers of spice, some white pepper followed by a bouquet of ripe fruits, crushed cinnamon, milk chocolate and rasberries with a whiff of orange zest.
Finish : Short to medium |Orange flavoured chocolates with hints of pepper and cinnamon.
This spirit is silky to the feel, rich and wholesome on the palate and zesty, fresh and young in character. This one differs from the usual floral, delicate hues I’ve been acquainted to with most Japanese whiskies, having a bit more polarisation, but not in a bad way at all! It almost tastes like an orange citrus liqueur, with a splash of vanilla and a bite of cinnamon spice; still echoing gentleness, restraint and discipline.
The Coffey Grain is unique, enjoyable and relatively complex. It wasn’t something I hadn’t expected from a grain whisky, housed with a flavour profile that is both welcoming and warm and hence represents fair value for money at AUD $120. All in all, this is a thumbs up and one that I’d return with a tumbler hinting for more!
Preference : I see this whisky as an all-rounder : great neat, or cuddled with a few rocks, served as a high ball or dressed up as a cocktail!