Pure Gould

A selection of six bespoke cocktails has been devised by Smiths’ mixologist Tiziano Tasso, each made with a different Nikka whisky. This includes the Unconventional which combines Nikka Coffey Grain with homemade sake vermouth, Japanese peppers and aromatic bitters, and the Authentic Nikka, made with Yoichi 10 Year Old, crème de banana, homemade bitters of Tonka, cinnamon vanilla and cloves.

Also on the menu are the Highballs – the variations of the Mizuwari that is with water and a popular way of drinking spirits in Japan. Indeed Highballs – whisky with soda water, or ginger or ginger ale – are credited with reviving the fortunes of Japanese whisky in its homeland, driving volume up by around 37 million bottles a year –  or so we were informed.

The flagship of the Nikka range is Nikka Whisky from the Barrel, a blend of two Nikka malts aged in bourbon barrels which, at 51.4%, is a strong, smoky-tasting whisky. The most recent addition is Nikka Coffey Grain which, as its name suggests is distilled in the continuous Coffey still mainly from corn. It is currently being trialed in France and the UK – interestingly even before it makes its debut in Japan.

These whiskies are by no means cheap – Nikka from the Barrel in its darling squat 50cl bottle, which is rapidly becoming a style icon, comes in at around £26 – but the whole package along with the overall sense of discovery and, of course, the delicious taste is well worth the outlay.