I wonder how often people have seen this bottle of whisky and thought that this was actually whisky infused with coffee. Or a special type of malt that has notes of coffee. Or anything to do with coffee. Well it doesn’t. This here is Coffey Malt Whisky! Coffey refering to the famous column stills that were patented by Aeneas Coffey in 1830. Malt refering to just plain malt. So basically this here is whisky that was produced by using only malt in a Coffey/column still. If this were made in Scotland, it would have to be called grain whisky. But it ain’t. It’s made in good old Japan where the whisky runs free like buffalo wings on all-you-can-eat night at TGI Fridays!
I think it’s neat to note that this whisky is from proper Coffey stills, which are the older style of column stills and from what I’ve heard they retain more flavour than the newer style of column stills. It’s quite a neat experiment and you’d be hard pressed to find a whisky like this in Scotland or anywhere else in the world. Why’s that? Well malt is typically more expensive than other grains to use and you would generally want to retain all of the flavour by using a pot still. Also since you can’t label it as a coffey malt in Scotland, there’s really no way to market it. Some bourbon distilleries in the USA actually produce similar types of whisky but it’s generally blended with other grain whisky.
And just another neat tidbit, SMWS bottled a Coffey malt (SMWS 12.1) and Coffy Grain (SMWS 13.1) from Nikka in the winter of 2014. These may have been the only cask strength single cask bottlings of the Nikka Coffee Malt and Grain in existence. Cool.
Distillery: Miyagikyo Coffey Stills
Price: £49.84 from Master of Malt
Tart like unripened apples. Vanilla ice cream. Astringent with spirity pings. Like nail polish remover. Green apples and green grapes.
A very grain like iced coffee note. With that bitterness from ground coffee beans. A hint of vanilla bean and whipped cream. The bitterness is quite prominent like drinking coffee black.
Bitter astringent bark. Like chewing wet bark with a hint of cinnamon.
It feels young and a bit shallow. Hard to taste much out of it. The bitterness is not a bad bitterness though, it’s like the bitterness of an espresso. Not sure about having this as an everyday dram but it does have a charm to it that I can see myself going back to. The nose really grows on you. I think it’s definitely worth a try for the novelty of it all! Also I hope I don’t confuse people anymore with my tasting notes picking up coffee flavours.
Image at top from here: