Whisky Nikka, conozcamos a su creador y sus dos pasiones - DISEVIL

Whiskey Nikka, let's meet its creator and his two passions

The foundation

It would be in 1934, when Masataka Taketsuru founded his first distillery, Yoichi, on the island of Hokkaido, the northernmost island of Japan and the one that was similar in many aspects, such as the climate among others, to the Scottish city where he had studied, and with easy access to barley, peat, coal and water vital to Scotch whiskey production.

Nikka, a love story

Matasaka was the third son of a small sake and beer maker. He was supposed to be the heir to the family business, so he began training in high school, in which he would discover Western alcoholic beverages, including Scotch whiskey , which would become one of his two great loves.

In 1918, he went to Scotland to study the process by which Scotch is made, becoming the first Japanese to study the art of whiskey making, visiting many distilleries and studying organic chemistry at the University of Glasgow. During his stay he rented a room in the house of a Scottish family whose daughter was Jessie Roberta "Rita" Cowan.

Rita came from a middle class family, she had lost her fiancé during the First World War, and later, in 1918, her father died of a heart attack. In the following months, the family's financial situation worsened, until, in 1919, they realized that they had to act quickly if they wanted to keep their family home in the town of Kirkintilloch, about 12 km northeast of the center of Glasgow. , so they decided to rent a room. The guest would be a young Japanese man named Matasaka.

Rita fell in love with Masataka and he with her, some say their love was born when they sang Auld Lang Syne together. Against all objections, especially Rita's family, they married in a simple civil ceremony at Glasgow Registry.

Masataka and his Scottish wife returned to Japan in 1920, she would never return to Scotland.
Along with his personal belongings, a notebook of Masataka's notes, from his studies and visits to Scotland, traveled with him, which he would keep throughout his life as a precious treasure. This notebook is located in a Japanese museum, and is one of the most important archives in the history of Japanese whiskey.

Masataka was hired for 10 years by the company that had sponsored his studies in Scotland, which would later become the famous Suntory, but his dream of creating his own distillery continued to beat within him.

History of the Nikka Distillery

At the end of his contract and with the unconditional support of his wife Rita, he made his dream come true, creating his own company, called Dainippon Kajuu KK. The company name stood for Great Japan Fruit Juice Company, (it would not be until 1952, that the company was renamed Nikka ).

Initially he had to deceive investors about his intentions, and said that he wanted to make apple juice, which he began to make while in another part of the company he began to create his first Nikka whiskey, which was released in 1940.

Shortly after, the war caused him to begin making cheap whiskeys to support the distillery, although he continued making high-quality small barrels in parallel.

This stubbornness made Nikka one of the distilleries with the most prestige and worldwide recognition decades later.

In 2007, a bottle of "Taketsuru" was chosen as the best blended malt whiskey in the world, and in 2008 Yoichi 20 years old, was proclaimed as the best malt in the world.

Many of us have fallen in love with the magic of Yoichi and Nikka whiskeys , even Orson Welles in 1979 starred in an advertisement praising the quality of Nikka whiskey .

Knowing the story behind each of these wonderful whiskeys will surely make each sip we take transport us to this beautiful and unique distillery.


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