With the recent rise in popularity of Japanese whisky, it seems like a lot of Japanese expressions are now flooding the market. To the uninitiated, it can be difficult to distinguish the multitudes of bottles with calligraphic Japanese characters in bold accompanied by sparse descriptions in English. I remember attending an “Evening with the Blenders” event at the Scotch Whisky Experience where an excited patron held up a bottle of Yoichi NAS to me and said they won it in the raffle. “It’s collectible!”, they decreed. Well unfortunately for them, or fortunately for me, not all Japanese whiskies are collectible. The Akashi blended whisky is very much an expression whose value will not likely rise in the near future. Tis a drinking whisky. Aren’t they all?
So what is this? Well Akashi is a brand which represents the Eigashima distillery in Japan (which is located in Akashi City). They started like many Japanese distilleries as a Sake and Shochu producer and have recently popped up on the European and American markets. However, this expression is a blend of whiskies from Japan and somewhere else. Sources suggest grain whisky from America. Apparently the Japanese version is quite different from the EU and American versions in that it contains molasses spirit. So that one is quite interesting but what we have here is basically an international blend. The marketing department probably thought making it look very Japanese would help boost sales in Europe and the States, and it probably has. Note that White Oak is another brand they use for their whiskies, so you might see people refering to this as Akashi or White Oak. They use these names on other expressions so it can get a bit confusing.
Another cool tidbit about Eigashima, it is “technically” the oldest whisky distillery in Japan because they got their whisky license in 1919 (Yamazaki started in 1923), but they really didn’t start making whisky until much later.
Distillery: Blend of whisky from Eigashima Distillery and American grain whisky.
Price: £29.95 from the Master of Malt
Sugar cookies, citrus rinds, toffee and chocolates crisp, cinnamon and warm apple pie.
Caramel syrup with whipped cream. Light cinnamon with strudel cream.
Light caramel syrup with a bit of oak bitterness.
A very gentle dram that pretty much epitomizes blended whisky. It’s light through and through. Very easy drinking but doesn’t offer too much excitement. Probably a very good starter whisky for those who are a bit hesitant about drinking whisky.
Astringent, with lingering vanillas and cereal notes
Vanilla notes out the gate then moves to an oatmeal, Oaky note, moving to a soft caramel.
Subtle vanilla caramel ice cream
Crisp, creamy dram. Great summer cracker.