Like every other whisky-making country, Japan now produces a wide range of styles, from sherry to bourbon cask matured to peated and cask strength expressions. In short, expect diversity, and a few surprises along the way.
One should also keep in mind that the Japanese whisky industry is not highly regulated. For example, their whiskies can and do combine malt whisky from Scotland with Japanese whisky. This is not an uncommon practice in Japan, and often the exact breakdown remains undisclosed.
Akashi do not obfuscate about the contents. They are more open than most. For instance, they state on their labels (in Japanese) the breakdown. Some of their products are composed of local and imported (i.e.. non-Japanese) malt whisky combined with a high proportion of molasses spirit (some of which has been stored in barrels).
While we're not certain of the breakdown of the Akashi Red, we do know it's a malt and grain blend, and likely a young to very young whisky - which is not surprising given the price point. Regardless, the proof is in the pudding. Taste-wise, we think this is one Japanese blend that sits comfortably alongside many a Scottish equivalent.
Tasting note: Brilliant brassy gold. Nosing finds a pleasing balance of fruity malt, vanilla and sweet grain-cereal notes. Surprisngly flavoursome, with a medium bodied, rounded, supple mouthfeel and delicate dried fruit / orchard fruit flavours. Some sherry input? Drying vanilla oak balances the malty middle. Kind of like a young Ben Nevis. This may well exceed your expectations for entry level Japanese. 40% Alc./Vol.
Whisky writer, David Broom, comments, "The White Oak distillery is perhaps the least known of Japan’s whisky producers, but it has a legitimate claim to be the country’s oldest with a license to make whisky granted in 1919 — four years before Yamazaki was built. It's located in the city of Akashi in Hyogo Prefecture, west of Kobe, facing the Seto Inland Sea. The distillery was founded by Eigashima Shuzo in 1888 to produce sake. Eigashima Shuzo obtained a license to manufacture whisky in 1919, but it was when the company moved to their current facilities in 1984 that White Oak Distillery was born.
40% ABV | 500 ml
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