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.
Whiskey Richard is the founder of nomunication.jp, and has been saying he has lived in Japan for ten years for the past four years. He enjoys drinking basically anything except straight-up Campari.