Review: Ohishi Sherry Cask Japanese Rice Whisky / by Jason Hambrey

Sherry Cask
Malted and Unmalted Rice
Distillers Ohishi Distillery (Hitoyoshi, Japan)

Now here is something to write home about - a Japanese whisky distilled wholly from a mixture of malted and unmalted rice! It certainly has my interest piqued! There is actually a lot of distilled rice in Japan - usually shochu which is typically bottled above 25% but below 40%. However, this is a bit odd - because it’s distilled from rice, it wouldn’t be naturally associated with “whisky” (though it fits the definition), but because it’s aged, it wouldn’t naturally be associated with shochu. Notably, a large portion of the grain used in this whisky is grown on the distillery estate. And, like a few stills in Canada, the pot still is made of stainless steel, not copper.

Review (2018)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2018

A very rich, unique nose – licorice root, tamarind, dried rice, soy sauce, prunes, plaintain, apple seeds, and a bit of sherry. Terrifically unique. The palate is fruity, with a big sherry influence but also lots of rice notes and even some kidney bean. The finish is similarly interesting, with loads of rice notes, dried fruit, and spice.

Very Highly Recommended (18% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher). On a taste persepective, this just gets a “highly recommended” score, but I just think it’s so fantastic to taste a nice Japanes whisky, made from rice– a rarity for a Canadian without much access. This is very Japanese in a way I haven’t yet experienced in whisky, which is terrific.

Value: Average. Nice stuff, but Japanese whisky doesn’t go for cheap….this is about $107 CAD.