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Eigashima White Oak distillery is growing in stature, both in its home country and around the world. The distillery was the first in Japan to receive a licence to distill spirits back in 1919. The Blue Label expression is a high quality Japanese blended whisky, which has been aged initially for five years in Shochu American oak barrels, before a finishing period of two years in former Sherry casks.
Found close to the city of Kobe, by Japan's inland sea, the distillery enjoys a mild coastal climate. Akashi was originally founded in 1888 as a Sake and Shochu producer (most likely using their own Shochu casks for this dram.
The whisky itself is constructed at a purpose-built distillery, which opened in 1984. The distillery boasts pot stills from the same era, which produce spirit in the traditional small-batch fashion. Aging currently occurs on-site, with casks held in a cellar in the same building.
As the only maritime distillery in Japan, White Oak whiskies often have a slight salinity and brininess.
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Light malt and sweet cereal notes drive the nose, accompanied by strawberry and cream lollies, vanilla, fresh meadow flowers, gentle oak and a little peppery spice.
Again, light and approachable, with flavours of fresh vanilla-oak, salted caramel, more sweet grain notes, a touch of peat smoke, a little nuttiness and freshly baked malty bread.
Medium in length and rather mouth-coating, with some lip-smacking dried fruit, subtle woodsmoke, dehydrated strawberries, anise, cloves and cinnamon.