Sake maker Kiyosuzakura aims to join the fray of "Japanese" whisky makers with a new blended "whisky" called Aichi Craft Whisky Kiyosu.
I put both "Japanese" and "whisky" in quotes above because frankly I am quite suspicious of this one.
On the one hand, every red flag we have about fake Japanese whiskies pops up:
- obligatory sake maker. Kiyosuzakura, founded in 1853, makes one of the cheapest sakes regularly available (in a juice box!), named Onikoroshi
- an age statement, frankly at this point it's more suspicious to have one than not
- seemingly affordable price (3000 yen for 500ml)
- blended whisky
- Whisky distillation license status is unknown (at the very least, they didn't get one within the past 5 years)
On the other hand, they claim it's been made using seishu kobo, or sake brewing yeast. I mean, sure, all brewer's yeast is Saccharomyces cerevisiae. But there are specific strains used by sake makers. If they are using such a strain, then at least the malt portion of the whisky was distilled in Japan? As for the license, it's plausible that they got a whisky license decades and decades ago but have just been sitting on it -- check out the recent release of Peak New Make from Gyokusendo for an example of that.
In any case, this one is out already. Aged for 5 years in an oak cask in their underground cellar, apparently.