|The konara cask that yielded the 15yo Akashi.|
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.|
Read more about Eigashima Distillery here.