Ohishi Distillery, located in the Southwest of Japan, was founded in 1872 in a beautifully mountainous and scenic countryside. Ohishi sits near the tiny village of Mizukami and is the closest distillery to the source of the Kuma River, one of the fastest flowing rivers in all of Japan, renowned and prized for its superior water quality. Ohishi has been a family business for six generations, primarily known for its sake and shochu production.
Ohishi Whisky is distilled entirely from rice and aged primarily in brandy or sherry casks, with many expressions finished in port, Islay Scotch, or Sakura casks. To ensure the quality of the spirit, 6th generation Master Distiller, Kazunori Oishi, utilizes 30% estate-grown rice for distillation with the remaining 70% coming from the surrounding Kumamoto prefecture. Weeds in the estate rice paddies are controlled organically by the employment of koi fish that swim about the grass and nibble the invasive plants. Varieties of estate-grown rice include Hino hikari, Mori no kuma-san, Yamada Nishiki, Gohyaku Mangoku, and Gin no Sato.
Ohishi whisky grains undergo two fermentation periods—one for seven days in clay pots followed by a secondary fourteen-day fermentation in stainless steel. Because of the rice’s efficient and subsequently clean fermentation, Ohishi uses a pot still made from stainless steel as opposed to copper. Never one to shy away from experimental, innovative distillation and aging techniques, Ohishi has firmly established Japanese rice whisky as one of the great grain whiskies of the world.