White Oak 14 and 15 years old – Eigashima Shuzo distillery

Eigashima is a Japanese whisky distillery that I know mostly of their Eigashima releases in those small dumpy bottlings. However, they also have their White Oak brand which releases some single malts now and then, mostly limited edition that never really show up in Europa. ‘Really’ meaning that some people might buy them for auctions or they end up in shops, via all kinds of intermediaries.

What’s also interesting is that they use the White Oak brand to release both blended whiskies and single malts. Most Japanese distilleries, or companies at least, do something similar, but use different brands.

In this case, this means that if you want to buy a bottle of White Oak or Eigashima whisky, you should pay attention to what you’ll be getting!

I got samples of these two drams as part of a payment for a bottle of Hanyu I sold last year. I only got around to them last week when I felt like emptying some sample bottles again. I should do that more often, since there’s so much just waiting to be reviewed and the amount of wee bottles only seems to grow. First world problems, right?

White Oak 14 years old, White Wine cask finish, 56%

Sniff:
Very typically Japanese with huge flavors. Loads of leather and quite farmy. Putty, quite chemical, sulfur, massive. Cows. Iron.

Sip:
Strong, sulfur, with loads of oak. Quite Japanese. Leather, furniture polish, and quite farmy. Iron and mineral, flint,

Swallow:
Again, massive flavors. Oak driven, but not overly long. Wood, sweet, black cherries.

I’m not picking up on the white wine, except for maybe the dryness of it. But again, that could also be explained by any other cask used. Nevertheless, it’s a fairly great dram. Huge, bold flavors that might not be to everyone’s liking, but if you like ‘Japanese whisky’ as a category, this’ll do nicely.

Luckily, this kind of stuff is right up my alley!

89/100


 

White Oak 15 years old, Mizunara cask finish, Japanese market, 58%

Sniff:
Even more influenced by the oak. Lots of sharp sherry. Slightly bitter, baking spices. Really sharp with chili pepper. Almost hurts my eyes when I sniff the glass.

Sip:
Oak, sherry, lots of dried fruits. Bitter, but with dates and figs. Some prunes too. Then, more oak. Very dry, very strong, and quite bitter. The Japanese oak is noticeable.

Swallow:
Good finish. Really dry, really bitter, lots of fruit and mountains of oak.

Where the 14 year old had huge bold flavors, this is a kick in the nuts. The flavors are bigger and trump the other whisky quite easily. The 2.5 years finish in Mizunara is quite clear from the oaky bitterness and big wood flavors.

This is an awesome whisky. And it reaffirms my belief that I should pay more attention to Japanese whisky again, even though prices are ridiculous. Point in case: this 500ml bottle is available for € 400…

But still:

90/100

Both great whiskies, with one just being a little bit greater than the other. Ridiculously good stuff from this rather unknown Japanese distillery. Now, to keep my eyes peeled for new releases…

About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm a web developer at Emakina. I'm highly interested in booze, with a focus on whisk(e)y. I like to listen to loads of music and read quite some books. I'm married to Anneke, have a daughter Ot, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
This entry was posted in - Japanese Whisky, Eigashima, White Oak and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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