...where distraction is the main attraction.

Friday, March 22, 2024

Miyagikyo Grande, Japanese single malt

Sorry, I can't help but pronounce "Grande" like Nachos BellGrande. Was this Nikka's intent? Most of the whisky world (and internet) would see "grande" and assume this single malt comes in a Balthazar. But then they'd be deeply disappointed about the comparatively wee 700mL bottle. So, um, Earth to Nikka, estarás decepcionado.

So what is this grand(?) Miyagikyo? Compared to the standard NAS release, Grande has more sherry casks in the mix and 3 more points of ABV. And it is/was only available via Travel Retail stores. It's still not as dark as Wednesday's Suntory Chita disappointment, so the e150a level is likely minimal.

Despite the above snark, I am curious to find out if this is indeed grand or grande.

Distillery: Miyagikyo
Ownership: Nikka
Type: Single malt
Age: ???
Maturation: a mix of sherry and bourbon casks with an emphasis on the former
Alcohol by Volume: 48%
Chillfitered? No
e150? Not much if any
(thanks again, Doctors Springbank!)


The nose pleasantly mixes almond extract, toffee, toasted pecans, and orange peels. Hints of flowers and peaches brighten the background, and there are no generic raisin/prune notes. The palate comes in malty, salty, and sweet, with more almond than vanilla action. A bit of Meyer lemon zips through the middle, and a light woodiness stays in the background. Its short finish offers tarter citrus, more vanilla, and louder oak spice.


Though neither grand nor grande this Nikka malt, like yesterday's Session, would be a good everyday pour, if you in fact enjoy everyday pours and don't have the widespread Whisky Attention Deficit Disorder. Compared to Session, Miyagikyo Grande is fuller, rounder, and bolder, which is likely due to the higher ABV and single distillery focus. Grande's finish proves to be its weak point with its brevity and louder oak.

I don't have the standard Miyagikyo NAS in front of me, so I cannot state with certainty if Grande is better, but the quality is pretty similar. So if you're in Japan, and are looking at the standard release (¥4500) and Grande (¥10000), you may not get much more for the latter's premium.

Availability - Japan, mostly Travel Retail
Pricing - it was ¥10000 not too long ago
Rating - 83