[Premium] A conversation with Taihei Yamamoto, Head Distiller, Sakurao Distillery

"Sakurao" from the sea, "Togouchi" from the mountains. Experiencing Sakurao Distillery's two single malts.

On July 1, 2021, the Sakurao Distillery released their long-awaited single malt whisky. But not just one bottle. They simultaneously released both "Sakurao" and "Togouchi." What's the story behind these releases? Whisky Galore Editor Mamoru Tsuchiya sits down with Head Distiller Taihei Yamamoto to find out.

Text: Yuko Ogawa
Images: Ayumi Fujita

Translation: Whiskey Richard

This article originally appeared in Japanese in Whisky Galore Vol.27 / August 2021.

Tsuchiya: The time has finally come, four years after launching the Sakurao Distillery in 2017. So first of all, congratulations on your first release.

Yamamoto: Thank you.

Tsuchiya: Most distilleries would only release one whisky for their first release, but the Sakurao Distillery has two: "Sakurao" and "Togouchi." Is there any particular reason for this?

Yamamoto: Our company already had the "Togouchi" brand of blended whisky. Togouchi, which is also the brand name, is an area in the mountains of Hiroshima. There's a tunnel there from back in the days when Japan's railways were nationalized, and we're currently using it as a maturation warehouse. We knew from our experience that aging whisky in this Togouchi Tunnel made it very round and smooth. That's why some of the single malt was matured in Togouchi.

This is an exclusive article from Whisky Galore, Japan's only whisky/spirits magazine. It has 1538 more words and 5 more pictures.

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