Asian whisky has gained a lot of notoriety over the last few years ever since Lost in Translation came out and Bill Murray uttered those famous words, “For relaxing times, make it Suntory time.” But Japanese whisky had been a serious product since Shinjro Torii built the Yamazaki distillery in 1923. Then in 1934 the Nikka brand was created. But aside of Suntory, Nikka and Taiwan’s Kavalan the choices for Asian whisky are sparse and pricey so I was excited when about 2 months ago I was presented with Akashi “White Oak Whisky.” Akashi is produced by Eigashima Shuzo distillery and although the distillery was granted a licence to make whisky in 1919 they mostly made Sake and Shochu.
The bottle that I tasted was their white label whisky. I was immediately enthralled by the product. The nose has a lovely focus of roasted almonds and coco powder with a hint of orange oils. Hints of dried fruits and spiced honey linger on the palate. The finish is quite lengthy with some heat in the chest which is surprising for a whisky that is only 40% ABV. There is not a lot of information about the distillery and information scattered but for the price at roughly $35 retail it is a great dram. Rumor has it that this release of the white label is a single malt whisky rather than a blend which you can tell by the viscosity but future bottlings will be blended which I am excited to try as the famous Hibiki 12 yr will be discontinued this October.
One key to mixing with any spirit, especially with spirits of a more delicate and nuanced nature is to keep the integrity and flavor profile intact within the drink. With the Akashi I wanted to play off of the citric aromas with out being too tart and finish off the drink with a rounder, sweeter mouth feel that avocado can offer to accentuate the sherry cask. This gives an almost chocolaty quality.
White Oak Sour
- 1 1/2 oz (44 ml) Akashi White Oak Whisky White Label
- 3/4 oz (22 ml) Bonal Aperitif des Montagnes
- 3/4 oz (22 ml) Cara Cara orange juice
- 1/4 oz (7.4 ml) lemon juice
- 1 tea spoon (5 ml) of honey
- 2 dashes of Spanish Bitters
- 1 dash if sea salt
- 1/8 of muddled Avocado
- 1 egg white
- Combine ingredients into a shaker and dry shake without ice for 1 minute
- add ice and shake vigorously and double strain into a cocktail glass
- garish with an orange peel