Four whiskies from Miyagikyo
I recently had the good fortune to be able to taste the core range of single malts from Nikka Whisky's Miyagikyo Distillery. Nikka Whisky is probably more known for their Yoichi Distillery, outside of Sapporo, which was established in 1934. The Miyagikyo Distillery opened in 1969. Miyagikyo Distillery was initially known as Sendai Distillery, as it is located near Sendai. The founder Masataka Taketsuru believed it was preferable to blend whiskies from different climates, and so made the decision to build this second distillery. At Miyagikyo Nikka produces both grain and single malt whisky, and it is said to have a mild Lowland-style. The whiskies I am presenting here today are all single malts.
These whiskies are available to buy in Sweden, but not in Norway (yet?). Miyagikyo SEK 549 (item number 86880 500 ml), Miyagikyo 10 YO SEK 889 (item number 86017 700 ml), Miyagikyo 12 YO SEK 1099 (item number 86229 700 ml), and Miyagikyo 15 YO SEK 1249 (item number 86213 700 ml).
Miyagikyo, NAS, 43 %
Taste (20/25): Mild and rounded. Ginger and hints of licorice.
Finish (19/25): Sweeter on the finish. Honey, caramel and licorice. A slight acidity towards the end.
Balance (19/25): I image this would go very well with a big ice ball in a tumbler glass.
Miyagikyo 10 YO, 43 %
Taste (20/25): Honey and spices. Sherry notes. A slight edge of burnt toast.
Finish (20/25): Camphor, caramel, and ginger. The mouth-feel is slightly fizzy, and there is a certain element of acidity here as well. More spice and burnt toast at the end.
Balance (20/25): Slightly richer and more of a 'proper' single malt.
Miyagikyo 12 YO, 45 %
Taste (21/25): More spicy, more punch! There is definitely more 'body' to this than the 10 YO. What it lacks on the nose it does make up for on the taste. Lots of pepper, some honey, oak spices and again peaches.
Finish (19/25): Dry and a bit short. Pepper, sherry notes and again with the acidity. A whiff of smoke right there at the finish line?
Balance (20/25): I must say I preferred the 10 YO over this one, which was a bit of a surprise.
Miyagikyo 15 YO, 45 %
Nose (22/25): OK, now we're talking. The extra years do shine through here. This whisky is clearly more mature, the nose richer and more balanced. Vanilla, exotic fruits and mild sherry notes. Camphor and oak build a solid base.
Taste (21/25): Cool fruit drops, caramel, vanilla and exotic spices.
Finish (22/25): Ginger, caramel. Richly sweet, slightly oily. Lovely mouth-feel, and a long finish. The acidity is hardly noticeable here.
Balance (22/25): It is by far the most complex of the four whiskies.
Sláinte! - Thomas