Nikka Discontinuing Large Range of Expressions

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Update! 19/6/2015

Whiskycast included this quote in their post which was taken from the letters Nikka sent to importers:

“With the current depletion, Yoichi and Miyagikyo malt whiskies, which are the base of most of our products, will be exhausted in the future and we will be unable to continue the business. Although we are now distilling spirits at full capacity, a long maturation period will be required until the spirits can be sold.”

There is also some speculation that Suntory may follow suit due to their lack of distilling during the whisky lake era. Suntory have already announced price hikes on a good portion of their lineup so it’s not looking too great.

Update! 18/6/2015

Ok so according to the highly reputable Nonjatta blog, Nikka will indeed completely discontinue the list of expressions shown at the bottom of this post (scroll down a while). So basically they are discontinuing all their current single malt expressions (including the current NAS versions) and replacing them with new NAS versions. It may seem strange of them to discontinue their current NAS expressions and release new NAS expressions but I think this is indicative of a shift to using younger whiskies for the NAS range which will alter the flavour profile. This is really honest marketing right here and I really respect that. I just hope they release more expressions soon.

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Original Post Below

Nikka has recently posted a final sale notice to retailers in Japan which listed a number of expressions that they will stop selling in August 2015. Surprisingly, within this list are all the core Yoichi and Miyagikyo expressions as can be seen at the bottom of this post.

Please see update above as my speculations below may have been incorrect.

I am not sure if this means that these expressions will be completely discontinued or if they are simply discontinuing it in their home market similar to what Macallan and Glenlivet have done for there 12 year old expressions. Also note that the list comes with bottle sizes. So perhaps they are simply going to reduce bottle sizes to something like 50cl or 35cl to raise unit price while maintaining the affordability of a “bottle”. It seems really strange that they would discontinue the 10 year old as it is basically their flagship whisky in western markets.

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Major Whisky Producing Countries

Scotch Whisky

I suppose the most famous region for producing whisky is Scotland. In Scotland the Scotch Whisky Association makes rules for what can be called whisky in Scotland. Scottish whiskies must be aged for at least 3 years in oak casks and the only ingredients allowed are water, grain, and yeast. Even though it is well recognized that a great deal of the flavour of whisky comes from the oak casks, it is not termed in ingredient (which I find strange).

The most commonly sold and consumed Scotch whisky is the blend. A blended whisky is made up of malt whisky and grain whisky. Malt whisky is made from malted barley and grain whisky can be made from any type of grain. Single malt whiskies are malt whiskies that come from a single distillery.

Irish Whiskey

There is some controversy over who produced whisk(e)y first, the Scots or the Irish. Either way, Irish whiskey has just as long a history as Scotch whisky. Notice that I am spelling whisky for Scotch and whiskey for Ireland. That’s the convention which has something to do with Irish distillers trying to differentiate their product from what they believed was inferior Scotch whisky. Instead of malt whisky, a lot of Irish distilleries produce partially malt whisky. Basically, they mix malted barley with unmalted barley to make the beer that is then distilled into spirit. This has something to do with a tax that was put on malted barley back in the old times and the traditon lives on. Some Irish distilleries do produce malt whisky but a majority of them focus on making whisky for blends.
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