Nikka’s 90th: The Nikka Nine Decades, Nikka Frontier

In celebration of the 90th anniversary of the company’s founding, Nikka Whisky has announced two new products to hit their lineup: The Nikka Nine Decades and Nikka Frontier. Let’s have a look.

It’s been quite a long time since I’ve written about straight-up product releases, but this year is perhaps a special one for Nikka Whisky, as the company is now 90 years old. Leading into this anniversary, the company has poured tons of money into expanding its output capacity, doubling it since 2013. Part of that strategy is expanding globally, and some recent announcements have indicated they’re working towards that.

The Nikka Nine Decades

Look, this isn’t an age-statement release, or even a proper JSLMA-standard Japanese whisky, but I think we’re kind of past that stage now for Nikka. The Nikka “Nine Decades” celebrates the company’s lengthy history, bringing together a collection of Yoichi malt dating as far back as 1945–yes, Nikka made whisky even during WW2–with Miyagikyo malt from right when the distillery was built. I count nine decades there! That’s alongside more modern grains from their Kyushu distilleries, Coffey malt, Coffey grain, and even good old Ben Nevis.

The first batch of 2000 bottles (1000 for Japan, 1000 for overseas markets) went on sale on July 2nd, and the next batch of 2000 bottles with the same breakdown will be available in October. From the sounds of it, sales of this one will be limited mostly to the on-trade, including samples at the distilleries. But surely some will find their way into the secondary market. The primary channel price is 300,000 yen for 700ml at 48% abv.

Nikka Frontier

In what’s set to be a far more wallet-friendly release at 2200 yen, “Nikka Frontier” is the company’s first new whisky brand in four years (the last being Nikka Session). Interestingly, this one’s key malt is a heavily peated Yoichi malt, and Nikka quickly points out that the blend is indeed “51% or more” of that key malt. So what’s the other 49%? Likely some combination of Ben Nevis and Nikka grain. At this price point, there’s really nothing to complain about regardless of what the actual breakdown is.

Look for this one nationwide in Japan from October 1st.

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