|Akashi Tai Sake Brewery
Hatozaki Small Batch Pure Malt Whisky is the new name for Hatozaki Pure Malt Japanese Whisky. This Small Batch whisky is a blend of different single malts which have been aged in a combination of ex Bourbon, ex Sherry and native Japanese Mizunara oak barrels. The Hatozaki range also includes the Finest Blended and a 12 Year Old Umeshu Cask Finish.
Hatozaki is an exciting new Japanese Whisky project produced by the Kaikyo Distillery and located in the town of Akashi, Hyogo, Japan. The distillery is based at the historic Akashi Sake Brewery whose Sake is very well known via their Akashi-Tai brand. However, there is already a Japanese whisky produced by different Sake brewery called Akashi. So to save any confusion, whisky produced and/or bottled at Kaikyo Distillery will be known as Hatozaki (although future single malts will be bottled as Kaikyo). Hatozaki Whisky is named after the nearby Hatozaki Lighthouse, the oldest stone lighthouse in Japan which has been operating since 1620. The distillery is named after the famous Akashi-Kaikyo bridge which lies in front of the distillery.
The Yonezawa family have been brewing Sake since 1856 and began distilling in 1917. The company was acquired in 2016 by Mossburn Distillers & Blenders (a new independent Scotch Whisky company) and, with their 100th anniversary of distilling approaching, Mossburn installed two new alembic stills made by the old Scottish firm of Forsythes to secure the future of whisky production at Kaikyo.
As mentioned above, Hatozaki Small Batch Pure Malt Whisky is a blend of different single malt whiskies. Although Japanese labelling regulations allow the naming of the constituent whiskies, Hatozaki does not, as it will allow them more flexibility going forward. It is most likely that the proportions of the blend will change, according to the age of the components as particularly when Kaikyo’s own whisky comes online. The whiskies are aged in a combination of casks including Bourbon, Sherry cask, some Japanese native Mizunara oak barrels and some hybrid casks including those with cherry wood heads (not possible in Scotch production, of course).
Many argue that the success of Japanese whisky has been in the skill of blending. All Hatozaki whiskies undergo a two stage blending process. The master blender first selects component whiskies to make two foundation blends (No 1 and No 2). These are blended and then left to mature and marry quietly in in cask, whilst being constantly monitored as they mature. When ready these two foundation blends are blended, in different proportions depending on how they mature and develop, with other individual whiskies to add florality, depth and finesse to the blend. The final blend is then allowed to marry again for a period in cask prior to bottling. All the stock for the Hatozaki Pure Malt Japanese Whisky is lying, and the blending carried out, at their Akashi warehouse.
Hatozaki Small Batch Pure Malt Whisky is made from of 100% malt whiskies and is blended from 5 to 6-year-old single malts, it is only produced in small batches of less than 20 casks. Bottled uncoloured or unchill-filtered at 46% ABV.
Hatozaki Small Batch Pure Malt Whisky is round, generous and unpeated. The sweet taste of malted cereals and dried fruit are uplifted by a light smoky undertone and an aromatic honey finish on the palate.
Drink neat or over ice. Try with some traditional Japanese Senbei Rice Crackers.