The expressions from two acclaimed Japanese brands, Akashi and Togouchi, are all new to the UK market. Both ranges comprise exceptional liquids with unusual taste profiles; for example, the Togouchi range includes highly unusual whiskies that have been finished in beer and sake casks.
ABUK is marketing the whiskies on behalf of European distributor Whiskies du Monde. Tina Connolly, senior brand manager at ABUK, said: “We are proud to be marketing and selling these two iconic Japanese whisky brands. Akashi and Togouchi are artisanal brands that each offer interesting and exciting whisky expressions.
“Japanese whiskies are distinctively different and designed to be consumed in a way that differs from traditional spirits in this sector. These spirits are designed to be enjoyed as light, fresh, long drinks, a style that is particular to Japanese whiskies. The Japanese expressions being launched now bring an injection of excitement and new interest to the whisky sector.”
ABUK is representing the Togouchi whisky brand, which includes four expressions that are new to the UK: Togouchi Beer Cask (40% ABV), Togouchi Sake Cask (40% ABV), Togouchi Pure Malt (40% ABV) and Togouchi Single Malt (43% ABV). These join three other expressions already available in the UK: Togouchi Premium (40% ABV), Togouchi 9 YO (40% ABV) and Togouchi 15 YO (43.8%).
This is a high-end, artisanal Japanese whisky brand produced by Sakurao Brewery & Distillery, which is based in Hatsukaichi in southern Japan. Founded in 1918, the distillery produces sake and other liquors and began creating whisky in 1990.
The elegant 70cl bottle design reflects the design of the company’s shochu jars. Togouchi Premium Blended Whisky is available through Waitrose at £44.50 and other expressions are priced at up to £160.
ABUK is also distributing Akashi whiskies, including one expression that is new to the UK, Akashi Blended Sherry Cask (50% ABV). They join three other Akashi expressions available: Akashi Blended (40% ABV), Akashi Single Malt (46% ABV) and Akashi Single Malt Sherry Cask 5 YO (50% ABV).
The distillery which makes Akashi, Eigashima, was founded in 1888, and is owned by one of the country’s oldest and most distinguished sake producers. The Eigashima Distillery’s own history dates back to the 1700s. It wasn’t until the early 20th century that the distillery was granted a licence to produce whisky and the first whisky was distilled in 1984.
Unusually, the distillery produces whisky during only one month of the year. The range comprises exhilarating, light, fresh whiskies that are delicate and sophisticated. They usually served as long drinks in a highball glass with water and ice, or in contemporary cocktails.
The whiskies are aged for between three and eight years before release, mostly in oak casks previously used for bourbon, sherry, wine, or sake. Akashi Blended Whisky is available through Waitrose priced at £33 for 50cl and other whiskies in the Akashi collection are priced at up to £135.