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Japanese Whisky Dictionary

Nikka Date

 Article first published by our partner, Japanese Whisky Dictionary. Visit them here. Find the original article here.



Nikka Date” is a blended whisky made from malt and grain distilled at the Miyagikyo distillery, with a portion of the grain distilled at the Ben Nevis distillery in Scotland. It is a blended whisky “for Miyagi Prefecture only” that makes the most of the characteristics of Nikka’s special Cafe Malt and Cafe Grain.

Nikka Date was released in 2008 and 2009 in limited quantities of 500ml (limited to 36,000 bottles in 2009) to promote the “Sendai-Miyagi [Date Trip] Campaign” as part of sales activities in harmony with the local community. The label at that time had the word “Date” written in white letters on a black base with a large golden crescent moon underneath, and the design of the crescent moon was based on the helmet of Date Masamune.

Later, the one released in 2012 was changed to 700ml and released as a year-round product. The taste has also been improved. The bottle in the middle of the photo is the bottle from this period, but the bottle in the store now is the one on the right in the photo. It’s not clear when the label was changed, but some believe it was around the end of 2019.




The Bottle

Strong and rich taste. Gentle and soft aftertaste.

It has a pleasant barrel-aged aroma, a soft floral scent, a gentle malty aroma, a rich vanilla-like sweetness, a milk chocolate sweetness, a smooth and creamy taste, and a complex taste with a moderate bitterness of peat that appears after the sweetness.



Aroma Woody aroma and a sense of barrel aging, with a malty sweetness. Chocolate-like bitterness, floral and fruity esters are in harmony.
Taste Smooth and creamy, with a honey-like sweetness and a vanilla sweetness. The bitterness of peat tightens the whole.
Aftertaste Smooth with clean esters and a sweet, bitter aftertaste.



Alcohol content 43% alcohol by volume
alcohol category Blended Whisky
Barrel type Cask type
Contents 700ml
Number of bottles sold Number of bottles sold
Suggested Retail Price 3,850 yen (tax included)
Release date September 2008 and September 15, 2009 (old Date, released in limited quantities)
July 2, 2012- (Current Date, released as a regular product)




Our Take

When Date was released in 2008, only “malt” was listed in the ingredients section on the back label. However, the label on the front said “BLENDED WHISKY”. It is said that this was probably because it was a blend of malt whisky from the Miyagikyo distillery and café malt distilled in a café-style continuous distiller.

As for the current Date, which has been on the market since 2012, the ingredients section says “malt, grain” and it seems to consist of Miyagikyo malt, café malt, café grain, and Ben Nevis distillery grain.

Nowadays, it is relatively easy to find this whisky on mail-order sites (although it is a bit pre-priced, but…), so if you want to taste it while feeling the history of the Miyagikyo distillery, this is the bottle for you. If you go to a Miyagi Prefecture product exhibition in Tokyo, you can find it at a fixed price.



(All Images Courtesy of JPWhisky.net)


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