Ohishi 8 Year Sherry Cask Japanese Whisky
Ohishi Whisky is distilled entirely from rice and aged in either Brandy or Sherry Casks. In order to ensure the quality of the spirit, the Master Distiller utilizes 30% estate grown grain for distillation, with the remaining 70% of rice (Mochi) coming from the surrounding Kumamoto prefecture. Weeds in the estate rice paddies are controlled, by the employment of koi fish to swim about the grass and nibble the invasive plants. Varieties of estate-grown rice include Hino hikari, Mori no kuma-san, Yamada Nishiki, Gohyaku Mangoku, and Gin no Sato. Because of the rice’s efficient and subsequent clean fermentation, Ohishi uses a pot still made from stainless steel, as opposed to copper.
The Brandy & Sherry cask, aging and bottling unfiltered, puts Ohishi’s distillates into an unprecedented category within Japanese law. Because they are made from rice (as opposed to malted barley), the Japanese do not call them “whisky” and because they are bottled with age (hence not clear in color) they are not considered shochu. For these same reasons, Ohishi’s spirits qualify as whiskey in America, something we are very thankful for! From the raw material, to the process, to the aroma and flavor profile, Ohishi carries weight with the most skeptical whisky drinker.
Sharing a great deal with Scotch in terms of production methods and ingredients, today’s hugely successful commercial market of Japanese Whisky owes much to the research of Masataka Taketsuru. In 1918, this Japanese national travelled to Scotland with the intention of studying organic chemistry but instead became fascinated with Scotch Whisky production. Similar to Scotch Whisky, Japanese Whisky also uses malted barley as the fermentation base and long-term aging in wooden barrels. However, the often-used Mizunara oak, rather than French or American oak, imparts uniquely spicy and citrus-like characteristics to a Japanese Whisky.