Unless you’ve been asleep in the last few years, you would know Japanese whisky has established itself on the world whisky stage as pretty premium!
However there is another kind of Japanese whisky out there… something known as ‘ji-whisky‘ i.e. smaller local spirits companies ‘micro-distilleries’ that sometimes pump out other spirits like sake and sochu, making cheaper whisky blends primarily with the Japanese consumer in mind.
Akashi is an example of such a ‘ji-whisky’ and one of the few Japanese blended whiskies available in Mumbai duty-free. Key point – it is not ‘purely’ Japanese as it uses a mix of foreign and Japanese malt and grain whiskies.
I first sampled an Akashi White Oak 40% at a house-warming party. Not having proper tasting glasses, I sipped it from a shot glass and the overwhelming impression was of a bubblegum, vanilla and honey nose, smooth creamy light fruity oak palate and an absent finish. As White Oak from Eigashima Shuzō distillery (i.e. White Oak) is the most readily accessible of Akashi’s offerings, I assumed this would be the Akashi sampled with the Whisky Ladies a few days later.
Nope! Our Whisky Ladies seek the less common and instead our evening featured the Akashi Red which spent 2 years maturing in ex-bourbon casks and 1 year in a sherry cask. Judging from the colour, it was liberally augmented with caramel.
Akashi Red Blended Whisky 40%
- Nose – Varnish and vanilla, medicinal ammonia with a bit of rubbing alcohol, apple cider, sweet cinnamon, honey, grain
- Palate – APPLES, smooth, toffee, drizzle of honey… not much else, quite a thin body, light, soft without much substance
- Finish – Light burn, bit woody, more apple… just this time the slightly bitter apple peel
- Water – One attempted to find a little orange peel
As soon as one lady said “This is a bit like Calvados”, she had company in that opinion!
Apple was consistent in all elements… as we gave it some time, it initially took on a more ‘malty’ quality and became even smoother (if that’s possible!)…
And then that’s when it became flat. Think apple juice. Now, I’m not averse to a good apple juice… but apple juice whisky? Hmm….
Here’s what they have to say from the bottle:
- Nose – orange peel, ginger, honey
- Palate – sweet cake, vanilla
- Finish – medium, light honey finish
We were surprised at no mention of apple… for all of this, the core fruit to this light whisky was apple, apple, apple….
But here is the thing. It isn’t expensive. Easy drinking (if you drink it quickly!). It again reminded me of something more suited to sake shots… and I wondered if the shot glass I first sampled the White Oak was perhaps just about right for the Red too?
For a bit more about whiskies from this distillery…
- Nonjatta unravels the Akashi White Oak whisky controversy and introduces Ji-Whisky
- Mrs Wolfmoons Whisky
- Dekanta on Japanese Ji-Whisky
Related Whisky Lady posts:
- 5 best Japanese Whiskies
- Nikka Blended Whisky 40%
- Sake Whisky – Togouchi Kiwami 40%
- Hibiki Harmony 43%
Other whiskies sampled during our September Whisky Ladies evening:
- Linkwood 25 year 43% Gordon + MacPhail
- Spirit of Hven Tycho’s Star 41.8%
- Blair Athol 27 year (1988) 55.7%
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