Is Nikka Coffey Grain a bourbon?

Answered by Edward Huber

Actually, Nikka Coffey Grain Whisky is not technically considered a bourbon. While it does share some similarities with bourbon in terms of its high corn content, there are a few key differences that prevent it from being labeled as such.

Firstly, bourbon must be produced in the United States. Nikka Coffey Grain Whisky, on the other hand, is produced in Japan by the Nikka Whisky Distilling Company. So right off the bat, it doesn’t meet the geographical requirement for bourbon.

Secondly, bourbon must be aged in new charred oak barrels. Nikka Coffey Grain Whisky is indeed aged in oak barrels, but they are not necessarily new or charred. This distinction is important in the bourbon-making process and contributes to the unique flavor profile of the spirit.

Additionally, bourbon must meet certain aging requirements, such as aging for a minimum of two years. While Nikka Coffey Grain Whisky is aged for a significant amount of time, the exact aging period may vary depending on the specific expression.

That being said, Nikka Coffey Grain Whisky is still a fantastic spirit in its own right. It is produced using a continuous column still known as a Coffey still, which gives the whisky its name. This type of still allows for greater control over the distillation process and can result in a smoother and more refined spirit.

The high corn content in Nikka Coffey Grain Whisky, along with the use of other grains like malted barley, contributes to its rich and slightly sweet flavor profile. It has notes of vanilla, caramel, and tropical fruits, making it a delightful sipping whisky or a versatile ingredient in cocktails.

While it may not meet all the technical requirements to be classified as bourbon, Nikka Coffey Grain Whisky stands on its own as a unique and exceptional Japanese whisky. So if you’re a fan of bourbon or just looking to explore different styles of whisky, I highly recommend giving Nikka Coffey Grain Whisky a try.