The Akashi Distillery is one that we have covered in great detail over the last few years, even going as far as independently bottling two unique casks for our dekanta exclusives range.
Based in Eigashima, the distillery has gone from strength to strength, releasing some truly exciting whiskies and growing in popularity around the world.
Eigashima Shuzo, an age old sake and shochu producer dating back to the 1600s, was in fact the first Japanese distillery to be granted a license to distill whisky, way back in 1919, however it was some time before they would produce spirit of this kind, allowing Suntory’s Yamazaki to become the first Japanese distillery to actually distill whisky.
However, once Eigashima began distilling, they never looked back and their expressions were enjoyed so much by locals that they built their own whisky distillery – Akashi White Oak – on the same site as their sake distillery in 1984.
To date, the distillery has released tens of brilliant whisky expressions, many of which feature unique cask maturation and finishes, and they have become something of an innovator in the Japanese whisky industry.
In December, they released two exciting new whiskies that were created by blending top quality liquid from Japan and beyond. One of these is a blended Japanese whisky, while the other is a World Blended Whisky. Through these bottlings, the workers at Akashi have displayed their incredible knowledge and expertise to create unique blended whiskies that deliver a memorable tasting experience. We all know blending is no easy task and requires years of training to carry out successfully, but time spent practicing is not something Akashi/Eigashima are short of.
The two expressions are a joy to behold and we’d highly recommend trying both if you get the chance.
The Akashi Malt Sessions Double Distilleries is a Japanese blended whisky created from spirit distilled at Akashi White Oak and Nagahama – another fast rising distillery that is growing in popularity.
It is made up of three different whiskies – lightly peated malt distilled at Akashi and matured for 4 years in bourbon barrels, lightly peated malt distilled at Akashi and matured for 3 years in Oloroso casks and non-peated malt from the Nagahama distillery.
Blending whisky can be a tricky challenge at the best of times, but it becomes even harder when you’re using such young spirit. Getting the balance right is key to delivering a drinking experience to remember, and Akashi has hit the nail on the head with this one.
It brings aromas of dried fruits, candied orange peel, gentle oak and subtle peat smoke, before the palate delivers soft citrus, red berries and more of that softly building peat smoke. Spices appear the longer you hold the liquid on the tongue, predominantly white pepper and cinnamon, and the finish is medium length with smoky tones holding until your next sip.
The Akashi Double Blenders Malt Harmony is a unique world blended whisky that was created by marrying five different whiskies, resulting in a complex and flavourful expression.
The components are – lightly peated malt distilled at Akashi and aged for 4 years in Bourbon barrels, lightly peated malt distilled at Akashi and aged for 4 years in Pedro Ximenez casks, non-peated malt from the Nagahama Distillery, and 4 and 5 year old malts created and matured outside of Japan.
As with the Double Distilleries release, they have managed to create a smooth and moreish whisky, but this one feels richer and fuller than the first.
It brings winter berries, sticky toffee and cinnamon spice on the nose, backed up by a little peat smoke, before the palate arrives with chewy caramel, rich oak, building yet subtle peat smoke and just a tickle of citrus that helps to balance out the whole drinking experience. It has a long and fruity finish that holds for some time, leaving you feeling warm and content.
It’s another fantastic creation and one that showcases what can be achieved in the growing World Blended Whisky category.
Both of these expressions are triumphs, delivering elegant notes that keep you coming back for another dram and displaying the Akashi Master Blenders expertise in all of their glory. In recent years, we have come to expect well-rounded, delicious expressions from this wonderful distillery and they have delivered yet again with these two.
If you’re a fan of Akashi whisky, you’re likely to be delighted with these bottlings and we would highly recommend getting your hands on them while stocks last.
Worldwide delivery is available, so simply order online and we’ll take care of the rest.