Saturday, November 17, 2007

Postscript: The naming of Ginkgo

Ginkgo leaves in Autumn
I have probably talked enough about Ichiro Akuto's new pure malt Ginkgo (Nonjatta review) but David Croll at the Number One Drinks Company sends us a postscript about the naming of the blend. I find it interesting because it offers a little insight to the growing influence of the export market on Japanese producers, particularly indy producers like Akuto. David tells Nonjatta:
The naming is a bit of a long story. Originally the idea was for the product to be sold 50% in Japan and 50% overseas (which has been the case). Akuto-san was developing Chrysanthemum as a working title in Japan and looking at various label designs, but at No.1 we felt this wasn’t quite right for the overseas market. Our UK designers came up with several options and Ginkgo was the one we went with. Akuto-san then, not having yet found exactly the right formula for Japan, decided he liked the Ginkgo name and label, and opted to run with that domestically as well.
Incidentally, further to another query in my original post:
The precise make-up of the blend is a trade secret, closely guarded by Akuto-san. I think it is fair to say that it contains whisky from the old Hanyu distillery, but he keeps the identity of the other whiskies very close to his chest! Given the complete lack of a traded bulk market between producers over here, it is an amazing concept and one that would be almost impossible to replicate.
All of which makes the Ginkgo name seem sort of appropriate. The Ginkgo tree, like its whisky namesake, is a very odd specimen, a living fossil in fact. Just now in Japan, its leaves are turning their beautiful golden yellow.

Thanks to EYLC for the photo.

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