The White Oak Distillery is owned by Eigashima Shuzo, home of the Akashi brand, who have nearly 100 years of whisky-making experience in Japan, but actually date back as far as 1679. Located in Akashi City, Hyogo Prefecture, it’s an area regarded for clean air and water and its close proximity to Osaka, overlooking the picturesque Seto Inland Sea. In fact, it is the only distillery in Japan to situated by the coast.
Eigashima Shuzo first entered the spirit business to make sake and shochu in 1888, before it obtained a license to make whisky in Japan in 1919, after reacting to the increase in demand for imported whiskies. As one of the pioneers in this field, the original distillery was built in the Scottish style and used only specially-selected barley imported from Scotland, combined with that same fresh water supply from an underground source that’s used in its making of Japanese sake.
The White Oak Distillery was established in 1984, transporting the pot stills and washbacks from the old facility and converting the previous stillhouse into a warehouse. The distillery location has a fascinating effect on the maturation of the whisky, not only because of any coastal influences, but because of the huge temperature differences between summer and winter. This has affected the profile of editions such as the White Oak Akashi Single Malt a rare example of single cask, single malt whisky from this brand, and the White Oak Akashi Blended Whisky.
Nose: Buttered hot cross buns, chocolate peanuts, lemongrass and a light hint of spicy rye grain.
Palate: Cherry bakewells and walnut loaf. Sweet cereals with a dusting of nutmeg and black pepper.
Finish: Medium length. Quite sweet with dried apricot and a touch of oatcake.