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Nikka Taketsuru Pure Malt 21 Year Old: A Whisky Lover’s Must-Try Experience

thewhiskylady - 2023-05-31
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Nikka Taketsuru Pure Malt 21 Year Old

I’ve always been a fan of Japanese whisky, and one of the most exquisite bottles I’ve come across is the Nikka Taketsuru Pure Malt 21 Year Old. It is an iconic beverage that has received numerous accolades over the years. The rich and complex flavor profile offers hints of chocolate and coffee, adding to the depth and overall enjoyment of each sip. Winning the World’s Best Blended Malt title at the World Whiskies Awards multiple times is a testament to its remarkable quality.

In my quest to find and taste the best whiskies, the Nikka Taketsuru Pure Malt 21 Year Old certainly ranks high on my list. It’s a reflection of dedication and craftsmanship, and a piece of history that I’m always proud to share with fellow whisky enthusiasts.

Nikka Taketsuru Pure Malt 21 Year Old Overview

Product History

My journey with Nikka Taketsuru Pure Malt 21 Year Old started when I learned about its fascinating history. It’s a masterpiece created in honor of Masataka Taketsuru, the father of Japanese whisky. Born in 1895 in the small town of Takehara, he came from a family that owned a sake brewery. Ready to carry on the family trade, Masataka studied chemistry and biology at Osaka Technical High School, paving the way for his future in the whisky world.

Nikka Taketsuru 21 is a blended malt made from whiskies produced at two of Nikka’s distilleries: Yoichi and Miyagikyo. With an age statement of 21 years, this exquisite Japanese whisky has gained international recognition, winning awards at the International Spirits Challenge and the World Whiskies Awards.

Price Range

As for the pricing, Nikka Taketsuru 21 Year Old Pure Malt Whisky falls within the high-end market. Its price range varies depending on the retailer, which can be from $900-$1200.

Keep in mind that these prices are subject to change and may not always be up-to-date or accurate. The popularity and scarcity of this fine whisky play a significant role in determining its market value.

Tasting Notes


Upon nosing the Nikka Taketsuru 21 Year Old Pure Malt, I notice the delightful blend of aromas. There’s a presence of fruit like apricot and peach combined with citrus, giving it a refreshing character. I can also detect hints of honey, leather, and chocolate, adding a layer of richness to the nose.


As I take my first sip, the taste profile reveals itself beautifully. The initial flavors of vanilla and caramel are complemented by sweet notes of orange peel and toffee. There’s also a presence of nuts, adding a depth to the taste that is truly inviting. The oak tannins provide a sense of maturity, while traces of smoke offer an underlying complexity. Overall, the flavor offers a well-balanced mix of fruity, sweet, and rich elements.


The finish does not disappoint. The lingering hints of cinnamon and woody spices leave a warm impression, while the citrus notes keep things fresh and engaging. The remnants of sherry wood and dried apricots add a delightful touch to the final moments of this remarkable Japanese pure malt whisky.


Taking into account the various aspects of aroma, flavor, and finish, I would rate it highly. Its well-balanced flavor profile is a testament to the expertise that goes into its production, and it’s a whisky that I believe many enthusiasts would appreciate for its depth and complexity.

Mixing and Pairing

Best Mixers

Best Mixersphoto credit: Shutterstock.com

I personally prefer to keep it simple. This whisky has a rich and complex flavor profile, which can be best enjoyed without overloading it with additional flavors. Good mixers to consider include:

  • A few drops of water: This can help open up the flavors and aromas of the whisky.
  • Chilled or large ice cube: The cooling effect of the ice can provide a refreshing contrast to the warmth of the whisky.
  • Ginger ale or soda: The light, crisp taste of ginger ale or soda can act as a palate cleanser, and allow you to fully appreciate the delicate nuances of the Pure Malt.

Cocktail Suggestions

Here are a couple of my suggestions, which aim to enhance the whisky’s inherent flavors without overpowering them:

  1. Japanese Highball: A classic and simple cocktail that combines the whisky with chilled soda water, served over ice with a twist of lemon. This allows you to enjoy the Pure Malt’s complex flavor profile, while the soda adds a sense of effervescence.
  2. Whisky Old Fashioned: By using the Nikka Taketsuru Pure Malt in place of bourbon, you can create a slightly sweeter version of this classic cocktail. Combine the whisky with a sugar cube, a few dashes of Angostura bitters, and a twist of orange peel, served over ice in a rocks glass.

Food Pairings

Food Pairingsphoto credit: Shutterstock.com

Nikka Taketsuru Pure Malt 21 Year Old pairs well with a variety of foods, thanks to its rich flavor profile. Some of my personal favorites include:

  • Dark chocolate: The bitterness of dark chocolate complements the smooth, rich flavors of the Pure Malt, while the cocoa content helps to accentuate the whisky’s natural sweetness.
  • Fresh figs: The fruity, earthy flavor of fresh figs can act as a nice contrast to the robust flavors of the whisky, and serve to cleanse your palate in between sips.
  • Cured meat: The salty, savory taste of cured meats can help to bring out the depth of flavors in the Pure Malt, offering a rich and satisfying pairing experience.
  • Sheep’s milk cheese: The creamy, slightly tangy taste of sheep’s milk cheese pairs excellently with the whisky’s fruity and spicy components.


In my experience, the Nikka Taketsuru Pure Malt 21 Year Old is truly a remarkable Japanese whiskey. I was pleasantly surprised by the rich and complex flavors that this whiskey offers. On the nose, I detected rich malt with a hint of oak, light ginger notes, and a bit of tiramisu. The color of the whiskey, caramel, added to its visual appeal.

As I tasted the Nikka Taketsuru 21, I noticed malt hints, along with vanilla, fruit, and spices. This blend of flavors led to a satisfying and enjoyable experience. The 43% abv contributes to a smooth and well-rounded finish.

The history behind this whiskey made it even more special to me. Knowing that it’s named after Masataka Taketsuru, a founding father of Japanese whiskey-making, added an extra touch of significance to the experience. Furthermore, the fact that this particular whiskey has won multiple awards speaks to its quality and craftsmanship.

I would highly recommend the Nikka Taketsuru Pure Malt 21 Year Old to both whiskey connoisseurs and those new to Japanese whiskey. The rich flavors, smooth finish, and storied history make it an excellent choice for anyone looking to enjoy an exceptional Japanese whiskey.

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