When creating a blended whisky, the Nikka distillery relies heavily on grain-based spirits. To craft this essential component, they start with a mash bill dominated by corn (instead of malted barley) and distill it in a Coffey still (a type of continuous still) before laying it to rest in barrels just as they do to their single malts. During that time in barrel, it develops exotic, fruity aromas and a rich bourbon-like character. If you're a die-hard single malt fan and are looking for something a bit outside the box, this is a rare and delicious treat that is sure to fit the bill.
In 1918, Masataka Taketsuru embarked alone on a long voyage to Scotland where he enrolled at the University of Glasgow and became the first Japanese ever to study the art of whisky making. He later returned and became the first Master Distiller for the Suntory corporation where he aspired to make genuine whisky from Japan. After over a decade of crafting whisky, he established Nikka and built a distillery in Yoichi, Hokkaido, which he had always considered to be the ideal site in Japan for whisky-making, due to its similarities to the Scottish town where he had studied. Today Nikka owns two malt whisky distilleries, however the first built in Yoichi, is widely recognized for its rich, peaty and masculine malt. The whisky gets its distinct aroma and body from direct heating distillation, in which the pot stills are heated with finely powdered natural coal--the traditional method that is hardly ever used today, even in Scotland.