Review: Nikka Tsuru 17, Blended, 43% abv.


The family name of the founder of Nikka, Taketsuru, 竹鶴, is composed of the Chinese characters for “bamboo crane”. These are also the same characters that appear on many Nikka products, such as the Taketsuru 17 and 21. I remember highballing the whole under 35 Taketsuru lineup, but that is another story for another day. However, this discontinued, ceramic decanter is just named Tsuru, 鶴, or crane…. or just the founders family name. I wonder if this is the same juice as the incredibly sweet Taketsuru 17? There are also many stories with the Take 17, mostly stating juice from Ben Nevis (which also happens to be incredibly sweet) was used as a base in the 17 blend… but it seems like most documents reporting that BN inclusion have disappeared. I believe this was bottled circa 2007 with a supposed output of 1500 bottles.

Nose: artificial sugar, honey, very light red wine, hints of burnt crust of honey toast, after some time I smell light peaches, some chocolate.

Palate: very smooth, good body, initial palate is low white sugar, mid palate has some smoke initially, but then its more sherry like after some time, back palate has some smoke initially, some semi-fried fruits.

Finish: short, light white sugar, hints of wood, a heavy sauce like textured aftertaste, light black pepper spice.

Dry glass: apples and wax.

This Nikka Tsuru 17 is quite impressive, easy drinking, a variety of flavors although in the sweet category, and has a trail of smoke that is a little hard to detect unless you’re looking for it. There are sherry aspects that pop up on the palate, but it’s very light since I don’t get those dried fruit and wine like flavors that sherry cask finished whiskies present. I do wonder how they got this one so sweet though… doesn’t seem like mixing Miyagikyo and Yoichi would be enough…. then again I think the Taketsuru 17 is quite sweet. Nonetheless amazing job by Nikka as usual.

Grade: B

Malt maniacs, Robert Karlsson, 89 points

Instagram: @starvinggigolo


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