Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Akashi 15yo konara-finish released

Post by Stefan Van Eycken, Tokyo
The konara cask that yielded the 15yo Akashi.
Eigashima has just released its oldest whisky to date, a 15 year-old. Not only that, it’s the oldest whisky they have – well, had – and it will take a long time before the stock currently maturing in their warehouse by the Akashi strait will be in its mid-teens. (We spent a couple of hours rummaging through their warehouse a few months ago, so this is not hear-say or some sort of PR stunt!)

But there’s something else that sets this release apart: it is – to our knowledge – the first whisky matured in Japanese “konara” oak. Konara (Quercus serrata) is the little brother of the famous mizunara (which is also called “oonara” – “nara” meaning “oak”, and the prefix “ko-“ and “oo-” meaning “small” and “big”, respectively). Eigashima uses konara oak to mature some of their nihonshu (at a different location, further north, on the main island of Japan) and when they decided to transfer some of their oldest stock to ex-white wine casks from their winery in Yamanashi two years and a half ago, they had enough left to fill one more cask. And so the remainder of that whisky – that had been maturing in Spanish oak ex-sherry wood for 12 years and a half – was transferred to a virgin konara cask. Last year, they released the wine-finished casks (as a 14yo, in 2 different batches). Now, finally, after 2 years and a half of further maturation in konara, their 15yo is available. It’s bottled at 58%abv, non-chill filtered and non-coloured, and will retail for around 10,000 yen (500ml). There are 795 bottles, which may like seem like a lot, but it always seems like that until you see the "sold out" sign.

The small warehouse at Eigashima.
We happened to be at the distillery last March and caught a glimpse of that lone konara cask in their small warehouse (where casks that are almost ready for bottling are transferred to from the big warehouse). It’ll be interesting to see what it contributed to the flavour profile. Stay tuned for tasting notes!

Read more about Eigashima Distillery here.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

suspect it is not available on the internet?

Stefan Van Eycken said...

It is available on the internet but only in Japan...

wusimon said...

If by your taste, it is pretty mature for drink, can you help save less 6 bottles I can fly to Japan to pick them up by Sept.2013..? or they can send over to me by Fedex or cat Yamato..?

Matthijs said...

Have you had the pleasure to taste it yet? Currently deciding on what whisky to buy and I was wondering what you think.

Anonymous said...

At the end of the PASSAGE shopping arcade at Kamiooka station is a shop that has about 5 in stock (and a couple of the 14y/o). I picked up 2. You might be lucky to have the other 3.
lewis