Today, we’re delighted to announce dekanta’s inaugural world blended whisky, released to celebrate our 6th anniversary and honour the long-standing partnership between Japan and Scotland. It’s a bottling that has been some time in the making and one that we hope you enjoy as much as we do. Presenting, The Kyōyū world blended whisky.
A Historic Partnership
Japan and Scotland have a long-standing friendship that has lasted through the ages and has seen everything from lacquerware to whisky knowledge shared between them.
In 1918, Masataka Taketsuru, “The Father of Japanese Whisky”, travelled to Scotland to study the art of whisky-making. He studied chemistry at Glasgow University and apprenticed at three Scotch Whisky distilleries, picking up the tricks of the trade along the way, before returning to Japan with his newly beloved Scottish wife, Rita Cowan, and helping to launch the Yamazaki Distillery, Japan’s first dedicated whisky distillery, in 1923.
Since then, the industry has experienced its ups and downs, however in recent times Japanese whisky has exploded onto the international market and is now highly sought after around the world.
Taking its name from the Japanese word ‘to share’, the Kyōyū is an ode to that partnership that blends well-aged whisky from three superb Scottish distilleries with stunning single malts from three Japanese distilleries. It’s a match made in heaven and something that we are excited to share with our loyal customers around the globe.
The History of Blending in Japan
The Japanese whisky industry dates back to 1919, when Eigashima Shuzo was the first Japanese producer to be granted a license to distil whisky, however the first Japanese whisky wasn’t produced until 1923, at the Yamazaki distillery.
Today, the industry is booming, with thirsty drinkers and collectors everywhere scampering to get their hands on a bottle of precious Japanese single malt whisky. These sought after whiskies from the likes of Yamazaki and Hakushu are no doubt iconic and superb in their own right, however it could be said that it was the Japanese flair for blending that got the industry to where it is today.
Throughout the 20th century, only a handful of whisky distilleries existed in Japan, and many of them did not have the capabilities to produce their own single malt whisky in any great quantities. This led to mass importation of spirit from other countries around the world, such as Scotland, which would then be carefully blended with Japanese spirit to produce exciting blended whiskies.
These were often mislabeled as Japanese whiskies, which went under the radar due to the lack of any whisky-related regulations in the country back then. It could be said that this hampered the industry in recent years, leading to mistrust from customers around the globe, but on the positive side, it also turned Japanese whisky producers into master blenders who now possess unrivaled blending skills.
Today, the likes of the Hibiki range is the perfect example of that, winning award after award at international competitions around the globe, and with the recent introduction of whisky regulations in Japan putting an end to the mislabeling of products, the world blended whisky category has seen an influx of stunning new additions.
The new category offers Master Blenders across Japan the chance to exhibit their skills in a way in which they will be appreciated around the globe. So far, a number of exciting expressions have appeared and have been met with acclaim from fans and critics.
We’re excited to enter the category with the Kyōyū – a whisky all about sharing.
The Kyōyū was created to highlight the skill of Japan’s master blenders, to celebrate the long-standing ties between Japan and Scotland, to showcase what’s possible within the World Blended whisky category, and most importantly, to be shared and enjoyed with friends.
To create this fine expression, we took a cask of a cask of 26 year old blended Scotch whisky, created from spirits distilled at three of Scotland’s most loved distilleries, married at birth and matured for over a quarter century, before carefully adding single malt from three of Japan’s fastest rising stars – Akashi, Asaka and Nagahama.
The results are an incredibly well-balanced, moreish expression that combines rich, fruity and oaky Scotch, with lighter, floral and subtly smoky Japanese whisky.
On the nose it brings a burst of fresh fruits and gentle vanilla before suddenly becoming much richer, with dried berries, burnt candied orange, layers of buttery toffee and light aromas of muscovado sugar.
Like the nose, the palate starts fresh, with a mixture of juicy pear and light oak, before slowly getting richer as the oak builds and is joined by sticky dates, brown sugar and cinnamon spiced apples, all the while subtle sea salt tickles the tongue.
The finish holds for a medium amount of time and leaves refreshing flavours of juicy sliced apples, fresh berries and subtle hints of oak.
When designing the bottle for our inaugural World Blended Whisky, we wanted to capture the essence of Japan’s long standing friendship with Scotland, while staying true to our Japanese roots. Our artist for the label was Nicolas Castell, a master of the Ukiyo-e art style originally made famous on Japanese woodblock prints in the 17th century.
Nicolas created a work of art that embodies the whisky inside. It’s a joyous display of simplicity, balance, friendship and sharing that features aspects of both Japanese and Scottish culture, wildlife, and of course, whisky.
The art is printed on textured Japanese paper that brings an authentic feel to the artwork and makes it stand apart from your average whisky bottling.
It’s a graceful, flowing piece of art, from the label to the whisky inside, and one that we are delighted to share with the world today.
Limited to just 260 bottles, this is an expression you’ll want to get your hands on while you can. To be one of the first to add this excellent new World Blended whisky from dekanta to your whisky collection, click here to pre-order. Delivery begins July 15th.