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Nikka Coffey Malt to be part of core range

Previously released exclusively as vintage single cask limited editions, Nikka’s Coffey Malt whisky is now available in European markets in a more accessible permanent bottling at 45%abv, RRP €50 for 70cl.

The Coffey Malt completes the Coffey range, which was originally launched in September 2012 with the Nikka Coffey Grain. Produced with mostly corn in the same Coffey stills, this unconventional single grain offers a glimpse into the grain whisky that constitutes the base of Nikka’s blends.

Initially released as a European exclusivity, the Nikka Coffey Grain has since integrated the Nikka range in Japan and internationally, following its success. This year, the Coffey Grain will move from a 50 to a 70cl bottle size.

The Nikka Coffey Malt is the result of a unique distillation process in “Coffey” type column stills, which are normally used for grain whisky production. This rare 100% malt bottling offers a surprisingly rich texture with deep oaky notes.

The Coffey still is named after its inventor, Aeneas Coffey. In 1830, he perfected the continuous distillation technology, which would later be widely adopted by the Scotts to produce their blends. The distillation process in column stills takes place continuously without requiring two separate distillations as with the pot stills used for single malts.

While the Nikka Coffey Malt is produced from 100% malt in a single distillery, it is not technically a single malt whisky due to its distillation method in Coffey stills. Nikka has two Coffey stills at its Miyagikyo distillery. Imported from Scotland in 1963, these old stills produce yield a distillate with greater richness and complexity compared to spirits produced in modern column stills.

“The Nikka Coffey Malt is a European market exclusivity. It is possible, however, that Nikka could expand the distribution in the future, as they have done with the Nikka Coffey Grain, which also started as an EU exclusivity but is now available globally.

“Prices vary from country to country but it is generally around €50 euros for 70 cl. No future products are planned in the Coffey range, but we will have some special Nikka surprises in the form of limited editions for the 80th anniversary,” says Didier Ghorbanzadeh, Nikka Whisky brand manager
 at La Maison du Whisky, France.

14 April 2014 - Felicity Murray The Drinks Report, editor