The art of finishing whiskey is something we’ve explored in-depth before, noting how a good secondary or even tertiary aging in other types of barrels besides what the spirit is initially laid in can add some fascinating additional flavor notes to the tasting profile. Usually these barrels are oak as far as wood types go, but now a distillery out of Japan is claiming to have the world’s first whisky to be finished in Japanese cedar cask.
Kamiki Blended Malt Whisky, according to those behind it, is a non age-statement expression blending select Japanese malt whiskies with malt whiskies from the rest of the world (confused on how they can do that? Here’s an explanation as to what happens). This blend is then cut with Japanese spring water and then finished for an undisclosed amount of time in Yoshino Sugi, more commonly known as Japanese cedar.
Japanese cedar is reportedly said to be known for “its pleasant fragrance and soft texture that help calm the mind and the body.” How this translates to this 48% ABV bottling supposedly is to smooth the taste and add a “scent of sandalwood on the nose and a zest of green tea in the finish.”
Now if you are wondering how this tastes beyond the official tasting notes, which are at the end of this article, early reviews from the whiskey blogger community are decidedly mixed. It seems to have won a few mentions at various spirits competitions, including taking a gold at the San Diego Spirits Festival last year.
Should you want to seek out a bottle of Kamiki, said to have been blessed by priests from the Ōmiwa Shrine in Japan, you may have to wait a bit as distribution seems limited at this time. Word is, though, it is supposed to come to the U.S. at some point.
Perfectly balanced with heather honey, sweet caramel, Japanese plum, balanced oak, peat and toffee with hints of sandalwood and green tea.
Nino Kilgore-Marchetti is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Whiskey Wash, an award winning whiskey lifestyle website dedicated to informing and entertaining consumers about whisk(e)y on a global level. As a whisk(e)y journalist, expert and judge he has written about the subject extensively, been interviewed in various media outlets and...