Photograph: Natchie

Eigashima Distillery (White Oak Whisky Distillery)

The whisky production forms a very small part of their current business, as they concentrate on the production of two of Japan’s most popular alcoholic drinks – sake and shochu. Traditionally, all of the whisky produced at Eigashima has been used in a blend called ‘White Oak’. This blend also includes some American grain whiskey. The first Eigashima single malt was only released in 2007, as the low production rate means that very little whisky is aged for long enough to be considered for single malt bottling. When the occasional releases happen, the whisky is named as ‘Akashi’.

The distillery was founded by Eigashima Shuzo in 1888 in order to produce sake and shochu. Proper whisky production did not begin until the company moved in to their new facilities in 1984. This new facility was named the ‘White Oak’ distillery and has separate still rooms for sake, shochu and whisky. The decision was taken to start producing whisky as a result of the boom in the Japanese whisky industry during the late 1970s and early 1980s. However, shortly after opening ‘White Oak’, the industry came crashing down in Japan with the blame being directed at a massive hike in the Japanese Liquor Tax and the cheaper prices and availability of Scottish and Irish imported whisky. As a result, they have only operated the whisky stills for approximately one month every year since the early 1990s. The current rise in popularity of Japanese whisky around the globe has seen production stepped up but it is still much less than any other distillery in the country.

The distillery is owned by Eigashima Shuzou, located in Hyogo on the main island of Honshū.

Information from whiskyforeveryone

About the distillery

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