Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Eigashima Distillery: 2013 Whisky-making Season

Post by Stefan Van Eycken, Tokyo
© Niko Neefs
Today is the last day of whisky-making this year at Eigashima distillery. They only distill for two months a year with a crew of 4 people, making it the smallest whisky operation in the country. The rest of the year is set aside for the production of sake (about 6 months) and barley shochu (about 2 months). We were at the distillery a few weeks ago, so here’s a short update.
© Niko Neefs
Whisky making this year started on May 31st. Forty tons of lightly-peated malt (5ppm) was used, i.e. 1 ton a day over 8 weeks. They’ve also switched maltsters and are now buying from Crisp Malting, like most of the craft distillers here. Spirit will be filled into ex-bourbon (Wild Turkey) and ex-sherry casks, but they're also planning on filling 15 second-fill recharred ex-shochu barrels.

As reported before on Nonjatta, it will take a while before they can release anything as old as their recent 15yo konara-finish single cask. The oldest stock in the warehouse is 6 years old and maturing in 2 ex-sherry casks. The plan is to release a 5-year old sherry wood single malt in the fall.

© Niko Neefs
We’re also able to confirm a rumour that has been going around for a while now, namely that some of Eigashima’s output is maturing in Scotland. Independent bottlers Duncan Taylor bought 3,000 litres of new-make spirit and had it shipped over to Scotland where it is now maturing. It’ll be interesting to see if this will be more than just a one-off thing – Eigashima has no intention of providing other independent bottlers with new-make spirit because their output is far too small for that – and what will come out of this in a decade or two.

Read more about Eigashima Distillery here.

3 comments:

Adrien T. said...

Curious about the 3,000 litres maturing in Scotland at the moment...

Fancy a visit to the distillery with me for next year's whisky-making season if I'm still in Japan? (Hopefully I will)

Adrien

Stefan Van Eycken said...

Sure, it's always a pleasure to see the people at White Oak (Eigashima) Distillery in action...

Anonymous said...

Have 2 bottles (unopened) of Eigashima single casks, both are limited to 120 bottles. 1 is aged for 5 years in Oak cask, The other one has a wonderful red colour (12 years in sherry cask).

Michael