Ume (Plum) Whisky, Akashi, Eigashima Shuzo [White Oak]
Located just a rock’s skip away from Kobe Bay, ocean-laden air is reflected in this whisky’s savory, saline driven purity. The town of Akashi, translated as the “Sun Rise City,” dates back over 500 years. Here, less than 100 yards from the ocean, the owner’s family has been making traditional Japanese alcoholic beverages, like sake, for over three centuries. Founded in 1888, Eigashima Shuzo holds Japan’s first whisky license, issued in 1919, and remains Japan’s smallest whisky producer, comprised of a five-person team. Serious malt production at this distillery did not begin until 1984, when the current copper pot stills were put into action and a focus on premium whiskies began at their ‘White Oak’ facility. Following a program dedicated to crafting a refined, super-sippable whisky, production is limited to insure that quality is preeminent, making Eigashima’s Akashi one of the rarest whiskies available today.
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Living delicately between the worlds of liqueur and whisky, this sweetened dram is born out of the tradition of ‘ume-shu’ which translates to ‘plum alcohol.’ In late May, green, sour plums are harvested and combined with rock sugar and matured Akashi blended whisky. This mixture then rests 6 months to a year for the plums to impart their sweet and sour flavors into the distillate. The resulting dram is an updated but reverent twist on a Japanese classic. 30.5% ABV.