The Japanese have been enjoying it since 1986, but cult whisky Nikka From The Barrel has never been available in the States – enthusiasts rejoice, however, because that's going to change next month. The square-bottled spirit, bottled at 51.4% ABV (102.8 proof), will go on sale at $65 per thanks to U.S. importer Hotaling & Co.
The rich blend of more than 100 different batches of malt and grain whisky produced at Nikka’s Yoichi and Miyagikyo distilleries is aged in multiple types of ex-Bourbon barrels and puncheons as well as ex-sherry butts and refilled, recharred and remade hogsheads. The higher proof "helps to merge the wide array of flavor compounds."
If you've never gotten into Japanese whisky, now's the time. While many neophytes view it as a newfangled thing, Nikka actually has an impressive heritage; founder Masataka Taketsuru opened his first distillery, Yoichi, in 1934, in regions of Japan that most closely resemble Scotland’s rugged coast.
This imparts the same briny flavor characteristics as some single malt Scotches while direct coal distillation with small pot stills add further layers of complexity. Don't take our word for it, though, put your order in for a bottle of From the Barrel and embark on your own exploration.