Wednesday, January 22, 2014

New Togouchi Whiskies for the European market

Post by Stefan Van Eycken, Tokyo

Read our tasting notes for the whiskies mentioned in this post here.

In response to requests from their European distributor (Les Whiskies du Monde), the people at Chugoku Juzo have recently developed two new additions to their Togouchi blended whisky range. The 18yo has been around for a couple of years. Now, there’s also a 12yo and a Togouchi ‘Premium’.
The Togouchi whiskies are a bit shrouded in mystery. They’re ‘produced’ by Chugoku Juzo, based in the town of Akiōta in Yamagata (Hiroshima prefecture). Whisky making in Japan isn’t governed by the same stringent rules as in Scotland and so the word ‘produced’ is fairly flexible and open to interpretation here. It can mean anything from ‘made from scratch, i.e. from the raw ingredients’ to ‘put in a bottle’. We don’t really know where their whiskies come from but we do know that they age them in a 387m-long abandoned exploratory tunnel that was meant to be used for a railroad. The tunnel is in Togouchi – a town that merged with two others to make what is now Akiōta city – so that’s where the name of the whisky comes from. Apparently, the temperature in the tunnel is around 14 degrees Celsius throughout the year.
The two new additions to the Togouchi range are a 12yo and a ‘Premium’ version. The 12yo is a blend of malt and grain whisky. The ‘Premium’ is a blend of corn whisky (whiskey?) and 8yo malt whisky. We haven’t spotted these new products in Japan yet, so if any of our readers in Europe have tried them, let us know what you think!

Les Whiskies du Monde seems to be doing very well. They’ve been distributing whiskies from smaller Japanese producers (Akashi/Eigashima and Isawa, among others) and the Japanese rum ‘Ryoma’ since 2011 and have their products on the shelves of liquor stores in 14 European countries. The Akashi blended whisky, in particular, seems to be selling like hot buns since they introduced it in Europe. Last year alone (in 2013, that is), they sold over 60,000 bottles of the Akashi blended. They’re working on several new products this year and we’ll keep you posted, as always. In the meantime, if you spot the Togouchi 12 and/or ‘Premium’ in Europe, drop us a line and let us know what it’s like.

1 comment:

Niels Viveen said...

If I spot some samples, I'll ship them to you.