Takamine 8 Year

This quarter, we are continuing our exploration of whiskies from outside of Scotland. Japan's whisky making dates back to the 1870s and historically follows the distilling traditions of Scotland. This quarter’s selection is made from barley fermented using koji mold, which is commonly used in the production of sake, soy sauce and miso. Takamine Whiskey is named for the man who pioneered the process of using koji in whiskey production. I hope you will enjoy this unique whiskey. See you in December!

Sam Crocker
Spirits Buyer

Takamine 8 Year Japanese Whiskey

Region: Fukuoka, Japan

Jokichi Takamine was born in Takaoka, Toyama Prefecture, in 1854 to a father who was a doctor and a mother who came from a family of sake brewers. He learned to speak English as a child. After graduating from university in Tokyo, he completed further studies in Scotland. He began his scientific career in Japan before emigrating to the United States in 1891. Later that year, Professor Takamine patented an innovative whiskey-making process that utilized koji fermentation, an ancient technique used in sake making and food production. Koji is a microbe that ferments grain more efficiently than malting. Takamine put his whiskey into production at the Manhattan Distillery in Peoria, Illinois in 1894, but it was not a successful venture and closed just 4 months later.

Takamine went on to develop several critical medical treatments and was recognized as an eminent scientist in both Japan and the USA, where he spent most of his adult life. In 1901, he isolated the hormone epinephrine, a key ingredient in medications used to treat anaphylaxis, cardiac arrest, and asthma. Later in life, he donated 2,100 cherry blossom trees to Washington, D.C. to show his goodwill toward his adopted homeland. His gift sowed the seeds for what would become the annual cherry blossom festival.

The Shinozaki Family has been making sake since the days of the samurai and has been distilling fine spirits since 1979. Over the past 2 decades, they have revived the Takamine Process. Takamine 8 Year is distilled at Shinozaki Distillery in Asakura City, Fukuoka and aged at their rickhouse in Ukiha City, a converted grain warehouse.

Cask Type: 90% virgin American oak, 10% ex-bourbon

ABV/Proof: 40.3%/80.6

Tasting Notes:

Delicate aromas of apple and cherry on the nose, with hints of vanilla custard. Creamy and rich on the palate, it is reminiscent of custard with cherry compote. Finishes with light spice and tongue-coating viscosity.

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