If you have taken a look at my Whisky Clubs & Societies post, you can see that Southern California Whiskey Club (SCWC) is one of my favorite whisky clubs! This week they have released a single cask from a salient Japanese distillery, Ohishi Distillery. Ohishi Whisky from them has been one of the exciting whiskies.
Ohishi is one of the historical sake & shochu producer in southwest Japan in Kumamoto Prefecture, neighbored by the fast flowing Kuma River, which helps a lot with growing estate rice! Yes, Ohishi Distillery makes their whisky with rice. Rice is an unrecognized grain in whisky distilling in Europe. Though brands like Ohishi and Kikori made their way in the US with improving the Japanese whisky market as the US don't have any strict regulations on importing rice whiskies as whisky. That's a whole other talk though.
Rice used to make this whisky is composed of 30% Gohyakumanishi estate grown rice and 70% mochi rice from Kumamoto Prefecture. They are currently using a stainless steel pot still which is the general kind of still used in shochu production for single pot still distillation technique. So, they know what they are doing!
Nerd information: Even though steel cannot remove sulphur components from the grain, producers often remove sulphur components during rice polishing.
Ohishi Whisky 7 Year Old Madeira Finish - SCWC Single Cask
Today, I received my bottle of the single cask which is picked by SCWC, Ohishi Whisky 7 Year Old Madeira Finish! This whisky is aged for 5 years in 1st fill Oloroso Sherry barrels and finished for 2 years and 2 months in a 1st fill Madeira cask. It is bottled at cask strength which is a low 41.2%, but understandable as this production often offers typically 45%abv after distillation. I don't have the exact information for Ohishi, but I will try to learn and update.
I have tasted different Ohishi casks over the years including brandy, Islay cask, Sherry cask, but I think this one is my favorite among all. Nose is dark with baked plums, caramel, baking spices and touch of orange zest.
Palate gave me so much joy with its balance. Nuttiness from Oloroso and darker sugar notes from Madeira blends in harmony. Milk chocolate and cinnamon carries the whisky to peppery notes at the back and complex leather transition to the finish. The finish has medium length with a dark sweet tobacco character. There is an extra touch of oak tannins at the very end.
Whisky certainly feels to have a higher abv than 41.2%.
Kudos to the SCWC team to select this great whisky! Hoping to see many other great selections on the way!