Friday, May 21, 2010
"Rice Whisky"? I put those inverted commas around the whisky because this is not whisky as we know it: it is 70 per cent malt and 30 per cent rice (Note inserted on 14/9/2015: please see comment below asserting that this should be 30 per cent malt and 70 per cent rice) .
I think it was bottled at Kirin's Fuji Gotemba distillery some time before 2002. I say that because it appears to be labeled as a "Kirin Seagram" whisky and the Kirin-Seagram Ltd. joint venture was renamed as Kirin Distillery Co., Ltd. in 2002.
My first guess was that this was just some sort of shochu with a fancy name but that does not appear to be the case because there is no mention of "koji", which is necessary for shochu production. There are loads of barley shochus and mixed barley and rice shochus, but unmalted barley rather than malted barley is ordinarily used. Instead, the koji breaks down the ingredient into sugars (for an explanation of what the hell koji is, see my brief explanation here or wait for my much better description in my upcoming book!) Anyway, this one has no mention of koji in its ingredients so I am guessing they used a vaguely whisky-like process. What is not clear to me is how they got the sugars out of the rice, if they were not using koji. Presumably, we are not talking about pot stills being used, but a column still?
Anyway, an interesting curiosity.
Posted at 7:18 PM