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Spirit Type: Japanese Whisky
Bottle size: 70clDescription:Since 1765, Sasanokawa Shuzo has been a producer of alcohol. Despite being primarily known for producing sake, the Asaka Distillery began dabbling in the production of whisky in 1946. It’s said that the distillery was granted the Tohoku region’s first whisky-making license.The distillery reportedly received the first whisky-making license in the Tohoku region.But by today's standards, the whisky—or "whisky"—that they produced back then isn't what we'd classify as whisky. This resulted from the malt whisky being blended with a neutral alcohol. But they weren't acting alone in this. In the past, Yamazaki was also compelled to produce and market what Stefan van Eycken called "ersatz whisky" in his book "Whisky Rising." In the end, Asaka produced genuine whisky using stills constructed of stainless steel.In the 1980s, they also had a "whisky" brand called Cherry. However, it was allegedly a blend of foreign Scotch and molasses-based spirit. They most likely used the neutral cane spirit that Japanese sake manufacturers are known to buy and use for some of their sake in their "whisky."Moving on to more modern times, Sasanokawa Shuzo has resumed whisky production to suit the growing demand for Japanese whiskey. But since they weren't exactly loaded, a distillery was built inside one of their sake storage facilities. Only a new stainless steel mash tun and pot stills were purchased.They used five stainless steel washbacks to ferment sake in the beginning, but in 2019 they converted to five wooden (Douglas fir) washbacks. All of their copper pot stills were produced by Miyake Seisakusho in Japan. In contrast, several Japanese distilleries of whisky favor importing stills from Forsythes. Production at the distillery began in the first half of 2016.Barley, mangoes, mango skin, cooked pears, and dried apricots are the first strong but brief fragrances that I detect. The heat from the ethanol can fluctuate. Sometimes it's right in front of you. It can be very well-behaved at times. Light and brief fragrances of barley husk, chocolate malt, roasted coffee beans, browned apples, and honeydew melons follow the initial aromas.The moment the whisky touches my mouth, I can immediately taste the sherry components. Coffee, dark chocolate, the chocolate and peat mixture found in Lagavulin 16, and chocolate malt all taste light but stretched out. Even a tinge of the flavor of raisins and sultanas can be detected. The flavors of kaffir lime leaves, pepper, lime peel, honey, and coconut sugar syrup are followed by a few brief, light tastes. The heat is also constant here, I've found. The sharpness is more noticeable at the latter end, but it tastes more like a whisky with a 43% ABV.
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