The Sakurao Brewery and Distillery Co. was founded in 1918 in the town of Sakurao in Hatsukaichi, Hiroshima. It was initially known as Chugoku Jozo and they produced sake, as well as attempting to create their own single malt whisky.
Much like many distilleries in Japan, their early attempts at whisky-making weren’t entirely fruitful, and the ‘silent period’ of the 1980s was particularly tough on the company. It was at this point that they decided to give up on creating their own, Japanese whiskies, and instead moved towards importing spirit from around the world and blending it inside of Japan.
However, in recent times, with the introduction of new labeling standards to the Japanese whisky industry, Sakurao are once again revisiting their long-lost dream of producing their own single malt whisky, and this week we’re delighted to showcase their first expressions.
So, let’s take a look.
The first of the two new releases, the Single Malt Sakurao 1st Release, is a cask strength expression that was distilled and matured on-site at the seaside distillery. It comes in at 54% ABV and aims to give drinkers a deeper understanding of the distillery’s character.
It’s a complex expression that brings a delicate balance of sweet, smokey and salty notes. On the nose you will be treated to ripe grapes, oranges, bitter chocolate and gentle vanilla, before the palate arrives with a subtle smokiness, more vanilla, a number of unique spices and milk chocolate that melts across your tongue. The finish is long, with a deep sweetness in the form of mingling citrus fruits that are joined by woody tones, building smoke and a breeze of salty sea air.
It’s a truly accomplished expression and one that the distillery have clearly taken their time creating. The notes are all delivered with a smoothness that is hard to achieve in such young whisky, highlighting the knowledge and talent of the workers at Sakurao, and leaving us longing for another dram time after time.
It’s an exciting entry into the single malt category for the Sakurao Distillery and one that could easily become a hit with Japanese whisky drinkers around the world.
The second single malt from the Sakurao Distillery is the “Single Malt Togouchi 1st Release”. Until now, the Togouchi line of bottlings was made up of world blended expressions created using large portions of imported Scotch whisky, and to be honest, some of them were fantastic. However, it is without doubt a positive to see a new bottling in the line that is altogether more authentic and true to the distillery’s roots.
This one is also a cask strength release, coming in at 52% ABV, but it differs from the Single Malt Sakurao in that it was matured in the famous Togouchi Tunnels – an old trial tunnel that allowed trains to pass through the deep mountain passes of Hiroshima.
Today, it is the perfect location for maturing spirits thanks to the temperature and moisture levels, while it also adds a unique and interesting flavour to the expression.
The Single Malt Togouchi brings freshly sliced apple, apricot and marmalade on the nose before the palate arrives with a light and gentle smoothness that features citrus fruits, vanilla and soft oak. The finish is medium length and brings refreshing floral and grassy tones.
It’s a crisp and elegant single malt whisky and another that the Sakurao Distillery should be proud of. Both of their new expressions showcase a real passion for whisky creation and a desire to produce unique and delicious expressions that focus on the quality of the liquid, and this is something we hope they carry forward as the distillery continues to grow.
Order Online Today
To be one of the first to get your hands on these brand new single malt whiskies from one of Japan’s up and coming distilleries, order online at dekanta today and we’ll deliver your bottle direct to your door.
These are popular new expressions and therefore quantities are highly limited, so act fast to ensure you get to taste these fantastic single malts.