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- ABV: 50%
Akashi single malt whisky is produced by the White Oak distillery that is run by the sake and shochu maker Eigashima. Based on the information available on their website Eigashima received the license to distill whisky in 1919 and started production in the same year. Sadly, nobody seems to know what this whisky tasted like. The current distillery, located in Akashi in Hyogo prefecture, was built in 1984 and the first single malt, an 8-year old one, was released in 2007. I visited the distillery in 2011 and received a very warm welcome. Currently the distillation period lasts from mid-June till the beginning of August. The 12yo was released in 2011, limited to 2,000 bottles.
The nose starts with a lot of rubber, not the gym shoe type but rather the burnt tyre kind. The rubber is omnipresent and pretty much covers what other flavours there might be. There is some smoke but it keeps itself in the background. With water however the nose opens up, yielding lovely notes of vanilla and peach.
The palate is medium-bodied and rather sweet once one gets past the high ABV. With water it gets even sweeter, with notes of caramel and ginger.
The finish is medium long and sweet with a smoky, ashy aftertaste.
It is always great to taste a single malt from a smaller distillery and I am quite pleased with the Akashi 12yo. It is an interesting whisky that combines a wide variety of flavours, from the rubbery elements of the nose to the sweet palate and the smoky aftertaste. Sadly, the intense rubber flavour at the beginning marred what was for me an overall very pleasant experience.