15

Score: 94

Nikka Taketsuru Pure Malt

ABV: 43% Price: $80 Style: Blended malt Origin: Japan

Nikka’s signature bottling honors founder Masataka Taketsuru, who brought his whisky making skills back from Scotland to Japan in 1920. Taketsuru’s successors have reformulated this blended malt, which fully complies with the latest definitions of Japanese whisky. The aromas create an oasis of calm with layers of gentle wood spices, smoke, vanilla pod, and lemon biscuits, while the palate carries a distinctive waxy sappiness that revels in luscious flavors of star fruit, lemon, Asian pear, peach syrup, and aromatic spice. —Jonny McCormick