We’re nearing the end of April and that means it’s time for our Whisky of the Month. This time, we’ve selected a multi-award-winning expression from one of Japan’s fastest rising distilleries that falls into the ever-growing World Blended Whisky Category – it’s the Amahagan Edition No.3 Mizunara Finish.
Hailing from the Nagahama distillery, this fine whisky has already won numerous awards for its excellence, including a prestigious World Whisky Award. It has become a hugely popular expression inside and outside of Japan and delivers an excellent tasting experience from nose to finish.
Without further ado, let’s take a look.
The Nagahama Distillery
Founded in 2016, Nagahama is one of Japan’s smallest distilleries, situated next to Lake Biwa, Japan’s largest freshwater lake. They produce a spirit as crisp and elegant as the distillery’s surroundings and are one of the fastest rising craft distilleries in all of Japan.
The story of Nagahama stretches back to around ten years before they distilled their first whisky.
In 1996, after the Japanese government loosened restrictions concerning beer production, the Nagahama Brewery was born, and they began producing craft expressions, including IPA, British Ale and wheat beer. Their beers quickly took off in the local area and around the country and Nagahama became known as one of Japan’s best craft breweries overnight.
Not happy with a successful brewery, those at Nagahama were keen to continue progressing in the drinks industry and they saw the Japanese whisky boom as a great opportunity to do so.
Moving into whisky isn’t a decision that should be taken lightly, given the precision, care, time and effort required to make good expressions. However, Nagahama were perhaps better positioned than most to make this jump, with their experience in brewing, which has some cross-over with whisky distilling.
Since then they have released a number of new-make expressions, small batch single malts, and several world blended whiskies sold under the Amahagan brand name (Nagahama spelled backwards).
Their whiskies have been met with acclaim from fans and critics alike, with the Amahagan Edition No.3 Mizunara Finish being a particular stand-out.
Amahagan World Malt Mizunara Finish
The Amahagan series so far features four world blended malts and each and every one of them has been an absolute delight. However, it is the Edition No.3 that has been making real waves in the industry, delivering a delicate and moreish tasting experience while once again highlighting the possibilities within the World Blended category.
The Nagahama Distillery do not disclose which imported malts go into this whisky, but it is believed to contain a healthy portion of their own single malt whisky.
On the nose, it brings juicy fruits in the form of ripe apple, gentle orange peel and subtle oak, before the palate arrives with milk chocolate and more oranges, leading into an oaky, citrussy finish. It’s a pleasure to drink and given its quality, it’s really no surprise that it has picked up so many awards already.
Its carefully balanced and elegant tasting experience has wowed judges at competitions around the world. Most notably, it was named “Best Japanese Blended Malt” at the highly regarded World Whiskies Awards in 2020, just a few months after release
Since then, it has become highly sought-after by whisky fans around the world, even making its way into our best-sellers list, alongside world class expressions from Yamazaki, Hibiki, Hakushu, Yoichi and others.
It’s a truly fantastic whisky and one that everyone should try if given the chance.
Commendations to Nagahama
We have to commend those at Nagahama for the work they put into this whisky, particularly when they are such a young distillery with limited experience in whisky production. It makes us excited for the future of the distillery and brand and leaves us longing for new additions to the Amahagan range, which we are sure will appear on the market in the due course.
If they continue to produce expressions as good as this one, it won’t be long before they are well-established as one of the best distilleries in all of Japan. The Nagahama Distillery is certainly one that you should be keeping an eye on.