[Review] Taketsuru 21 Year Pure Malt

Whisky Review
Whisky Review
Nikka WhiskyYoichi DistilleryMiyagikyo Distillery

A pure malt whisky named after Masataka Taketsuru, the father of Japanese whisky. It is a pure malt whisky that Japan is proud to present to the world.

Taketsuru 21 Year Old Pure Malt” has won the “World’s Best Blended Malt (Pure Malt) Whisky” award at the World Whisky Awards (WWA) in 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011. World’s Best Blended Malt Whisky” in 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011.
In commemoration of this award, we have designed a logo on the label that is presented only to WWA award-winning products. Nikka Taketsuru 21 Year Pure Malt WWA 2010 Award Commemorative Label on Thursday, June 3, 2010. Nikka Taketsuru 21 Year Pure Malt WWA 2011 Award Commemorative Label To commemorate this award, we launched a limited quantity of the “WWA Award” products on June 3, 2010 and September 6, 2011, respectively. (The contents are the same as the existing products)


1. Manufacturer

Nikka Whisky Co.

Head office4-31, Minami-Aoyama 5-chome, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-8616, Japan
Owned distilleriesYoichi Distillery, Miyagikyo Distillery, Ben Nevis Distillery

2. Distilleries

Yoichi Distillery

Location 7-6 Kurokawa-cho, Yoichi-cho, Yoichi-gun, Hokkaido 046-0003, Japan
Start of operation 1936

The Yoichi Distillery in Hokkaido is known as the Scotland of Japan. The distillery was established in 1934 by Masataka Taketsuru, also known as Massan, whose predecessor was Dainippon Fruit Juice Co. Masataka Taketsuru believed that a place similar to Scotland Cool and humid climate, rich water source and clean air Masataka Taketsuru chose Yoichi, located at the base of the Shakotan Peninsula, west of Otaru, from among various candidate sites. Masataka Taketsuru’s goal for his first distillery was to create a heavy and powerful malt whisky. He was determined to replicate the whisky-making methods he had learned at the distilleries of Scotland, without compromise. The symbol of this commitment is “direct coal distillation”. This distillation method is based on the method of the Longmorn distillery, where he learned it himself. If it is necessary to make genuine whisky, we will protect it even if it is inefficient. Such passion, which can be said to be the origin of Nikka Whisky, and Masataka Taketsuru’s dream have been handed down to this day. 

Click here for the official website of Yoichi Distillery.

For more information about Yoichi Distillery, please see this article.

余市蒸溜所 | ジャパニーズウイスキーディクショナリー
Japanese Whisky Dictionary

Miyagikyo Distillery

Location 1 Nikka, Aoba-ku, Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture, 989-3433, Japan
Start of operation 1969

It has been about 30 years since the first distillery was started in Yoichi, Hokkaido. Masataka Taketsuru, who believed that “whisky becomes richer and more flavorful when it is blended with raw materials from different distilleries” desperately needed a second distillery. Taketsuru chose Miyagikyo in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture. It is a lush green gorge blessed with two clear streams, the Hirose River and the Shin River. When Taketsuru visited this place for the first time, he drank some of his Black Nikka in the clear water of the Shin River and confirmed the taste. It is said that he decided to build the distillery on the spot. The pride of the Miyagi Gorge Distillery is its “café-style continuous distiller”. At the time of its introduction, this distiller was already considered obsolete. Because it was an old-fashioned distillation machine, it was prone to leaving behind miscellaneous flavors, but Taketsuru chose to use this old-fashioned distillation machine because the technology could transform them into the original aroma and sweetness of the ingredients. At the Miyagikyo Distillery, people who have inherited Taketsuru’s passion are still continuing to make various attempts to make whisky taste better.


Image credit: Miyagikyo Distillery|NIKKA WHISKY

For more information on Miyagikyo Distillery, please see also this article.

余市蒸溜所 | ジャパニーズウイスキーディクショナリー
Japanese Whisky Dictionary

3. Product name and photo

Taketsuru 21 Year Pure Malt

4. Characteristics

A marriage between the thickness of Yoichi’s malt and the fruity taste of Miyagikyo, achieved by long-term aging.
This whisky is made by blending only malt that has been matured for more than 21 years, and features the dense aroma and rich, lingering aftertaste that only pure malt can provide. It has a round mouthfeel and then gradually develops a deep, rich aroma. It has the calmness of a long-term aged whisky, the thickness of malt typical of Yoichi, and the soft fruity taste of Miyagikyo apples.
It has a soft fruity aroma like Miyagikyo apples, and a fruity aroma like well-aged peaches and tropical fruits. The aroma is rich and dense, with a rich and gorgeous barrel aroma.
The palate is soft with a hint of complexity and richness. The full-bodied aftertaste spreads widely and then changes to a dense and complex flavor.

4-1. Tasting Notes

AromaRipe apples, apricots, mild vanilla, honey, almonds, more fruity than malty, with a hint of sherry.
TasteBitter chocolate, apricot jam, ripe apples in syrup, sherry sweetness and some tannins.
AftertasteA complex finish with a pleasant vanilla note and woody oak notes.

4-2. Product Specifications

Alcohol content43% 
alcohol categoryPure malt whisky
Barrel type
Number of bottles soldEnd of sale in March 2020
Suggested retail price16,500 yen (tax included)
Release dateMarch 2001

5. Awards

2006   ISC Gold Medal
2007  WWA “World’s Best Blended Malt Whisky”
2008   ISC Gold Medal
2009   ISC Trophy, the world’s highest award (the first domestic whisky to receive this award)
      WWA “World’s Best Blended Malt Whisky
2010   ISC Gold Medal
      WWA “World’s Best Blended Malt Whisky”
2011   WWA “World’s Best Blended Malt Whisky”
2012   ISC Gold Medal
2014   ISC Gold Medal
2015   ISC Gold Award
2019   ISC Double Gold Award

6. Price

6-1. Manufacturer’s suggested retail price

Product nameTaketsuru 21 Year Pure Malt
Suggested retail price15,000 yen (tax included: 16,500 yen)

6-2. Resale price on Mercari

The resale price on Mercari is Around 47,000 yen to 56,000 yen The resale price on Mercari is as follows. (*as of February 3, 2021)

6-3. Yahoo auction bidding prices

The winning bid price on Yahoo Auction is Lowest bidder: 40,450 yen, Highest bidder: 177,000 yen, Average bidder: 57,473 yen (*Statistics for the past 120 days from February 3, 2021) 

6-4. Rakuten, Yahoo Shopping, Amazon

It is also sold on mail order sites at Around 65,000 yen It is also sold at (*As of February 3, 2021)

6-5. Price offered at BAR Shinkai

At “BAR SHINKAI”, which is operated by this site, it is offered at 1 glass, 45ml: 3,960 yen, 30ml: 2,640 yen, 15ml: 1,320 yen (*as of February 3, 2021)

Bar Shinkai, which is operated by this site, offers it at.

Information about “BAR Shinkai”
Japanese Whisky Dictionary operates three BAR Shingai stores in Minato Ward, Tokyo. In addition to the Japanese whiskeys introduced on this site, they also hand...

7. Summary

First of all, drink this whisky straight to feel the richness of the malt and the fruity flavor of the apples. Whether you drink it with water or on the rocks, the vanilla aroma fills your mouth and you can taste the barrel aroma, and you will enjoy the richness and depth of flavor and the complex aftertaste that only 21-year aging can provide. This whisky has been discontinued, but many bars still have it in stock, so if you see it, be sure to try it.

As of March 2020, Taketsuru 17 year old, Taketsuru 21 year old, and Taketsuru 25 year old will become Sold Out Taketsuru Pure Malt (no age statement) will be renewed. The only whisky that bears the so-called “Taketsuru” name is this Taketsuru Pure Malt New Label. As a result, the whisky sold by Nikka in its current form has been replaced by Vintage whiskys (with age notation) have disappeared. The Taketsuru Pure Malt New Label will be sold in 22,000 cases per year, but it has been difficult to see it. It was announced in January 2021 DRINKS INTERNATIONAL ANNUAL BRANDS REPORT 2021 in the “WORLD WHISKY category” of the Nikka No.1 for 6 consecutive years In the “WORLD WHISKY category” of the

ニッカが圧倒的1位。サントリーが2位。DRINKS INTERN...
2021年1月に発表されたDRINKS INTERNATIONAL ANNUAL BRANDS REPORT 2021の「WORLD WHISKY部門」で、ニッカが1位、サントリーが2位、その他、山桜、イチローズモルト、マルス、軽井沢がランクイン。

The new brand “Session SESSION” was launched last September. Is there any movement following that? Nikka has yet to show any significant movement this year, but is it time for us to get some information about the annual Yoichi and Miyagikyo limited edition products? I’m expecting a move that is as good as Suntory’s.

Please check out the other articles about Taketsuru.

[Review] Taketsuru 17 Years Old ...
Nikka Taketsuru 17 years Old pure malt released in 2001. Yoichi, Miyagi Gorge, blended with key malts from two distilleries.
[Review] Taketsuru Pure Malt New...
Hsinchutsuru Pure Malt is a combination of malt forged in the northern sea and malt grown in a green canyon.

Lastly: Recommended Books on Japanese Whisky

If you want to learn more about Japanese whisky, which is a global trend, we highly recommend these books.

(1).Whisky Galore Vol.29 December 2021 issue

In the December 2021 issue of Whisky Galore, published by the Whisky Culture Research Institute, we report on 11 Japanese craft distilleries, including some that are open to the public for the first time, under the title of “Japanese Whisky Craft Frontline,” the first of three consecutive issues. Why did the popularity of Japanese whisky and the craft boom occur? We will examine with interviews. Chichibu Distillery / Chichibu No.2 Distillery / Mars Shinshu Distillery / Mars Tsunuki Distillery / Kanosuke Distillery / Hioki Distillery / Ontake Distillery / Osuzuyama Distillery / Kaikyo Distillery / Hanyu Distillery / Konosu Distillery

(2). Japanese Whisky as an Education for Business

This is a book written by Mamoru Tsuchiya, a world-famous whisky critic and representative of the Whisky Culture Research Institute, titled “Japanese Whisky as a Culture that Works for Business” .
The book covers the basics of whisky, the introduction of whisky to Japan, the birth of Japanese whisky, advertising strategies and the rise of Japanese whisky, and the current rise of craft distilleries. This is a book that summarizes Japanese whisky in a very easy to understand way.

(3). Whisky and I (Masataka Taketsuru)

Masataka Taketsuru, the founder of Nikka Whisky, devoted his life to brewing whisky in Japan. This is a revised and reprinted version of the autobiography of a man who simply loved whisky and talked about himself. The book vividly depicts the days when he went to Scotland alone to study as a young man and overcame many hardships to complete Japanese whisky, as well as his companion, Rita.

(4). A Letter of Challenge from a New Generation Distillery

Launching in 2019. With the world experiencing an unprecedented whisky boom, what were the managers of craft distilleries thinking and what were their thoughts as they took on the challenge of making whisky? This book tells the stories of 13 craft distillery owners, including Ichiro Hido of Venture Whisky, famous for his Ichirose Malt, who inspired the birth of craft distilleries in Japan.

(5). Whiskey Rising

This is the Japanese version of Whisky Risng, published in the US in 2016, with much updated content. Not only does it describe the history of Japanese whisky in detail, but it also includes data on all the distilleries in Japan, including the craft distilleries that have been founded in recent years. The book also includes descriptions of the legendary bottles that have been released, as well as information on bars where Japanese whisky can be found.

新海 博之

Born July 17, 1981 in Kitahiroshima City, Hokkaido, Japan
After graduating from university, joined NTT Data Customer Service Corporation as a new graduate.
2010: Opened "Azabujuban BAR Shinkai" → 2016: Developed specialty "Yakuzen Curry" → 2018: Opened "Toranomon BAR Shinkai" and in 2019 "Shibadaimon BAR Shinkai" → 2020: Started web media "Japanese Whisky Dictionary".
We will daily communicate the appeal of Japanese whiskey as something we, as bartenders, can do.

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Japanese Whisky Dictionary