This is a continuation of the series of posts on whiskies we tried in Japan. Most of the places we visited were scotch focused with only small allocations of Japanese whisky but the cocktail bars, particularly the ones that are frequented by foreigners, were more economically minded and have a large selection of Japanese whiskies (at a pretty cost). Akashi did an excellent job with their bottling and their cask series (solid color labels in a rainbow depending on finish) really stand out in a bar.
We asked our bartender which he thought was his favorite of the Akashi series and he brought out the White Oak. To be honest, I was pretty sure I had seen this stateside but the price was reasonable and I figured I might as well get the Japanese whisky drinking thing done with so that I could focus back on the scotch :). Good thing we tried! It was actually quite tasty.
I was actually quite taken aback by how negatively it was reviewed when I first started researching “Akashi White Oak 5” for this article but then quickly realized I should have been looking for “White Wine Oak” at the end because all the reviews I was reading was for the blended standard release. The differences:
- A single malt (vs. the blended versions typically sold)
- White wine cask (instead of a blend of ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks)
Interestingly enough, even the blended versions differ between the Japanese and international versions. The Japanese blend releases are more akin to a whisky-rum blend, using malt with molasses spirit. I kind of am curious to try it now.
Nose: Funky grapes. Grappa baby. Strong Vanilla. Orange and chocolate. Spicy rye. Campfire. Sour mash. Campfire and chocolate.
Palate: Enveloping grape candy funk. Malty grape wine funk. Some light oak varnish but mostly delicious white Moscato sugar and chocolate.
Finish: cocoa powder.
Overall: 8/10. Honestly really enjoyed this dram. Sweet but funky
TDLR;: Grappa and winegums Bought for $18 at Bar High Five.
Quick overview of our scoring system. Note that we try to give a “5” for an average whisky, which is lower than standard whisky scoring guides (typically around 80).
- Cask: Chardonnay White Wine (uncertain if it is finished or fully aged). The 6-year white wine release is cognac-aged and white wine finished.
- Single Malt (imported from Scotland)
- Age: 61792 is NAS (there are other white wines that are either 5 or 6 years)
- ABV: 46%
- Eigashima mostly creates sake and shochu but they also make whisky one month of the year on the White Oak’s stills
- First Akashi release was in 2007
- Eigashima Shuzo holds Japan’s first whisky license (1919) which was issued 4 years before Yamazaki
- Barley and malt are imported from Scotland