Whiskeymania has struck every region of the world, but nowhere has the impact of feverish demand been felt more strongly than Japan, where prices have skyrocketed and stocks have dwindled to near-nonexistence. As such, any new whisky from Japan is cause for some level of celebration, so let’s raise a glass, at least preliminarily, to Nikka Days, a new entry-level bottling that blends grain whisky with lightly peated malt whisky.
Both the flavors and appearance of Nikka Days were designed to highlight the bright side of whisky and whisky consumption. The blend is structured by the mellow and smooth Coffey Grain Whisky and aromatic non-peated Miyagikyo malts, along with a touch of Coffey Malt Whisky and Yoichi malts to enhance the bright sweetness and rich body. The complex and delicate blend results in an extremely silky mouthfeel, with fruity and floral flavors that rise and expand, leaving behind a delightful aftertaste.
“As the name suggests, Nikka Days has been developed for whisky lovers who appreciate fine drinks on any casual day,” says Emiko Kaji, Nikka Whisky international business development manager. “This elegant whisky can be enjoyed neat, on the rocks, in a simple highball or refreshing cocktail. We hope that Nikka Days will complement and elevate your day.”
The bottle indicates that this whisky is designed to be “smooth and delicate,” and that description is certainly on the mark.
The nose is decidedly mild and simplistic, showcasing a laserlike focus on gentle granary notes with a squeeze of lemon peel on top of them. It’s incredibly light on its feet, with the barest of secondary aromas — some toasted wood, namely — to give the experience a spin. The palate is quite similar to the nose, though there’s a bit more lemon visible in the mix. The peat element is present, but oh so gentle, barely there really, with just the lightest of ashiness as the finish approaches. When it does, it brings with it a touch more sweetness — lemon bar and toasted coconut — plus another hint of smoke. All told, it’s really the fresh grain notes that carry the day, though, for better or for worse.
Nikka Days is completely and utterly harmless, and while it’s extremely easy to drink — think highballs, for sure — you’d never have an inkling that it came from Japan. Personally, I’m ready for a bit more brooding alternative from Nikka: Nikka Nights, anyone?
B / $50 / nikka.com