Sometimes whisky exists because of a long tradition of whisky making throughout many generations of the same family and sometimes whisky exists because the business case allows it. Eigashima Distillery has a long history, but not really of producing whisky. They have primarily made Sake and Shochu, which are both big sellers in the Japanese market and are traditionally drunk as a long drink with food. When they moved to a new facility in 1984 they began producing whisky, but struggled to keep up production due to tax issues in the country. They only produce a small quantity of whisky in a short window each year. More history and information about the distillery can be found at the ever excellent Whisky for Everyone.
This whisky was sent to us as part of a Whisky Wire Tweet Tasting, which was organised to celebrate the 3rd anniversary of Dekanta Whisky’s opening. It is a specially created whisky, that seeks to highlight the influence of scotch whisky on the history of Japanese Whisky. This is achieved by ageing Japanese Whisky in a Port Ellen (A very famous Islay based distillery that has been closed since 1983) cask.
Appearance: A muted golden straw like colour.
Aroma: The nose of this whisky has a really diverse number of notes. At first there are the salty, maritime notes, which are matched with rural, spicy wooden polish notes and rich apple esters.
Taste: This is a whisky with a rich palate. Initially, it is sweet and fruity, with a real tropical, pineapple zest and creamy vanilla flavours.
Then in the middle there is a warming white pepper like spice, which sits on the tongue and warms the palate.
Finally, as the whisky spreads across the palate and the spice dies down, there is a dusty, tobacco leaf smoke to the end.
Mouthfeel: Surprisingly light and easy to drink despite the big ABV.
Overall: It is really easy to be cynical about Japanese whisky, especially when it comes from a smaller distillery. There has been a massive boom in the last few years, which has led to a shortage in quality aged whisky and has led to prices rising beyond the bank balance of most people, but at the same time, there are some fantastic Japanese whiskies out there.
It is really hard to make an argument for spending £500 on one bottle of whisky, but this is a characterful, dynamic high ABV whisky, which if you are feeling flush is unlikely to be repeated again. If not, there are many great Japanese whiskies – For example Nikka from the Barrel that you can pick up for much cheaper, so slide on over to Dekanta and see what you can find.
Real Dram Factor: 7.3
Source: Sample from a Whisky Wire – Tweet Tasting.
More Information: https://dekanta.com/the-kikou/
Buy Online: https://dekanta.com/the-kikou/