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Eigashima distillery, where Akashi is made, is one of the oldest whisky distilleries in Japan. Akashi is the only whisky in the world to be overseen by a Toji, or Master Sake Maker (hence this dram’s name). A blend of both malt and grain whiskies, this whisky has been aged in former Shōchū casks for five years, before a finishing period of two years in ex-Sherry barrels.
Eigashima Distillery, where this dram is made, is found close to Japan’s inland sea. As such, whiskies from this location breathe in the sea air, developing a subtle maritime quality.
The distillery has a decent claim to being the oldest whisky distillery in Japan, having received its licence to produce whisky in 1919 (the first purpose-built Japanese whisky distillery, Yamazaki, didn’t open until 1923).
Eigashima was, and remains, a Sake and Shōchū producer, with the proprietary family having produced traditional Japanese spirits for more than three centuries.
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Opens with peppery aromas, soon joined by sweeter notes of vanilla, honey, toasted hazelnut and subtle dried fruits.
Medium bodied, with a light black pepper spiciness subsiding to reveal flavours of custard, fragrant white rice, gentle oak and sultanas.
The Sherry cask announces itself here, with Christmas spices like nutmeg and cinnamon coming through, and dried fruit sweetness.