Fresh out of the oven dinner rolls; cloves; malt.
Sweet malt, firm body, green tea, ginger and an overall flavor profile that is somehow reminiscent of that soft drink Fresca with a bite of grapefruit. Gives new meaning to 'citrus' flavors in whisky.
Spicy zing of pepper, toast with marmalade and mint jelly.
In general, I have a very high opinion of Japanese whisky. Say "Japanese whisky" and Hibiki 17, Yamazaki 12 and 15 come to mind. Those are great whiskies. Accordingly, I had high hopes. Unfortunately, Nikka Taketsuru 12 year Pure Malt disappoints.
Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
Remember that college psychology course that you slept through? Do you remember anything? Does the name Abraham Maslow ring a bell? Hello? Anybody there?
Anyway, I do remember Abraham Maslow. You see this scholar studied highly successful people like Albert Einstein, instead of highly dysfunctional people, and developed a great theory of what successful, happy people have that the rest of humanity does not.
Maslow theorized that people have varying needs (aren't best theories the most obvious and trite ones?). There were the basic needs like food, shelter, sex (not sure that last item should be at the bottom of the pyramid . . .) that had to be met to function. Above that were non-essential to life needs: to feel safe, secure, ownership of property that sort of thing. Moving up that pyramid there were more elusive needs like: love . . . And if you had all that stuff, you could become self-actualized at the pinnacle once you became creative, moral, solved problems, and did what you found personally fulfilling in life. This is the dumbed down version of course. Check out this link to Wikipedia for a more learned discussion than I am capable of delivering (click here).
Now, you are thinking, "Jason, what the hell does Maslow have to do with a review of Nikka Pure Malt 12 year old whisky?"
Here's the pitch: Nikka Whisky doesn't lead to self-actualization. It will meet your basic needs of being a decent, ok whisky. It tastes smooth, has no bite, and in general a very tame, refreshing, summertime dram. Moving up the pyramid of needs of the whisky nut: it does gives you warmth and shelter from the cold weather, relief from the heat with a little ice, etc. Hop up to the next level of the pyramid and Nikka Pure Malt falls short. I'm not feeling the love. It doesn't seduce me. This bottle and I don't have a lot of respect for eachother. We are strangers in the night. That's about it. No follow up the next morning. Just me leaning out of bed and turning that clock radio ahead about 4 hours, and saying "Shit! I gotta get to work, or I'll be late. Gotta go. Had a lot of fun, see ya!"
Great whisky "completes me!" (to steal a line from the film Jerry Maguire). It makes me whole! Gives my life meaning! I undergo, albeit temporarily self-actualization! Hibiki 17, Highland Park 15 and 25 yrs, Famous Grouse 30 years all take me to the top of the hierarchy of needs of me the scotch nut. Nikka Malt does not. It's ho-hum. Predictable, not boring, but not much challenge, nor much going on upstairs other than some zing and pepper mid-palate on top of the big citrus flavors. Too much citrus based flavors. Is this whisky or Fresca infused with whisky? I need more for the high price! Not worth the money in my estimation. A satisfying whisky when your needs aren't too high up that hierarchy. And there's nothing wrong with that, so long as you know yourself or "know thy self" to borrow a phrase from another great thinker: Socrates.
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