Japan’s Nikka Miyagikyo 12 – Could it be Just a Bit Too Perfect?

Israel’s whisky community is now in the midst of the first organized blind tasting organized by Tapuz Wine and Alcohol Forum’s Admin and resident whisky buff Assaf Harel in conjunction with Sitonaut Binyamina, who organizes next month’s Whisky Live Tel Aviv. We got 14 blind samples, and have one revealed each night at 11pm. The first whisky was the Tomatin 14 (which I reviewed here last May), So obviously…..I got it….WRONG!!!  Yes, despite having tasted and reviewed this particular expression, I failed miserably…

The other bloggers in the competition didn’t fare much better, and these competitions serve to teach humility in a fun way.

Since I already reviewed this expression, I’ll be harking back to some whiskys I tasted at the Whisky Show in London and didn’t get to review, starting with the Miyagikyo 12.

Photo Credit: sentabi.jp

Photo Credit: sentabi.jp

The first Miyagikyo I reviewed was a stunning sample of a single cask I got from my friend Torben. You can read this review here. The distillery was built in 1969 in a pristine remote location by Masataka Taketsuru, who pretty much invented Japanese whisky, and who’s story will be the basis of a Japanese television series – sure to interest whisky fans the world over. This is a distillery in which precision is the name of the game and the entire distillation operation is controlled by computers.

Photo Credit: cote20.com

Photo Credit: cote20.com

Nikka Miyagikyo 12 (45% ABV)

Appearance: Light bronze, slow and thin legs.

Nose: Sliced pears, bouquet of flowers, touches of smoke and a somewhat dusty quality. Also detectable is cake batter and notes of sherry, which works very well with the smoke.

Palate: Spicy white pepper and cardamom, orange peel and honey that was melted in hot water.

Linger: Light spices on the tongue, some spice in the back that fades and some dryness.


This is a very precise whisky. It’s very “put together”, somewhat tight. Very good, although somewhat uninspiring.

The problem, of course, is the price. While you can get the Yamazaki 12 for under £60 (which is still high for a 12 year old), whereas the Miyagikyo will set you back £82, I can’t say I’m sure why it should cost more than 33% more.

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