[Review] SINGLE MALT WHISKY “TOGOUCHI”

SAKURAO DISTILLERY was born in Hatsukaichi City, Hiroshima Prefecture, known as the town of Itsukushima Shrine, a World Heritage Site. Operations began in January 2018.
Ltd. (formerly known as Chugoku Jozo Co., Ltd.), famous for its SAKURAO GIN, started the project in 2015 as part of its 100th anniversary.

The TOGOUCHI Whisky that has been sold up to now was mainly produced for overseas markets and was a blended whisky with some imported raw materials, but the current Single Malt Whisky TOGOUCHI is the first single malt release of TOGOUCHI Whisky.

Most of the products are shipped to restaurants, hotels, bars, and other business establishments, and the number distributed to retailers for general consumers is quite small.

In addition, this product is labeled ” JAPANESE WHISKY ” in the product name. This has an important meaning: the voluntary standards for Japanese whiskey established recently by the Japan Sake Brewers Associationn came into effect on April 1, and the label indicates that the product complies with them.

1. Manufacturer

Sakurao Brewery and Distillery Co.

Established 1918
Head Office Address1-12-1, Sakurao, Hatsukaichi City, Hiroshima Prefecture, 738-8602, Japan
Owned distillerySakurao Distillery

2. Distillery

SAKURAO DISTILLERY

Address1-12-1, Sakurao, Hatsukaichi City, Hiroshima Prefecture, 738-8602, Japan
Start of operation January 2018

SAKURAO Brewery and Distillery Co., Ltd. in Hiroshima Prefecture is a long-established brewery founded in 1918.
In fact, the company has a deep history in whiskey making, and was engaged in the production and sale of malt whiskey from 1938 to 1989. At that time, the distilled whiskey was stored in a storage facility in TOGOUCHI, which was built in a trial tunnel for the JR West railroad.
In 2008, we started selling ” TOGOUCHI Whiskey,” which is made by blending the raw liquor stored in the TOGOUCHI storage facility with imported raw liquor. (90% of the whiskey is exported to Europe.)

In December 2017, as a project to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the company’s operation, new equipment was installed to produce high-quality single malt whiskey, and a craft distillery from Hiroshima called SAKURAO DISTILLERY was built.

December 2017SAKURAO DISTILLERY completed.
October 2018SAKURAO DISTILLERY VISITOR CENTER opened
2019SAKURAO DISTILLERY 2nd phase construction (installation of grain whiskey distillation equipment and new whiskey storage)
March 2021Company name changed to SAKURAO Brewery and Distillery Co.

 

3. Product name and photo

SINGLE MALT WHISKY TOGOUCHI

4. Characteristics

Refined whiskey matured in a tunnel in a cool environment deep in the mountains.

The most distinctive feature of TOHGOUCHI is the aging room. A former railroad tunnel in TOGOUCHI, Akiota Town, is used as the aging room. The tunnel is about 800 meters long, and cool breezes pass through it all year round, keeping the temperature and humidity constant throughout the year. The dimly lit maturation cellar is said to be the best place for maturing whiskey and was used before the distillery was established. The malt distilled at the Sakurao Distillery is quietly matured in the casks, which are filled with the scent of fresh greenery, and is bottled at cask strength after 3 years of maturation.

A taste that deepens over time in the mountains of Hiroshima
The town of Togouchi in Akiota-cho stands out for the beauty of its scenery and the colors created by its rich forests and clear streams, including the highest mountain in the prefecture, Oraharayama, Fukairiyama, and the national special scenic beauty of Sandankyo.
In this mountainous area, a tunnel that was once used for railroads is now used as the Togouchi storage facility.  
In the dark storage room, where the temperature is kept cool throughout the four seasons, the malt liquor distilled at Sakurao Distillery is quietly maturing in barrels filled with the scent of fresh greenery.
The aroma is reminiscent of fresh apples, sweet marmalade and apricots, with a soft sweetness, smooth mouthfeel and a refreshing, gentle finish.
Aged in the Togouchi cellar, surrounded by lush forests and clear streams.
The aroma and flavor are slowly refined in the storage room where cool breezes pass through all year round.

Quote: From Hiroshima to the world with tradition and innovation: Simultaneous release of “Sakura-o” and “Togouchi” single malt whiskeys from the sea and mountains|prtimes.jp

4-1. Tasting Notes

NoseFresh green, fresh apple, sweet marmalade, apricot.
TasteSoft sweetness and smooth mouthfeel
AftertasteRefreshing and mild aftertaste.

4-2. Product Specifications

Alcohol content52% alcohol by volume
alcohol categorySingle malt Japanese whiskey
Barrel type
Contents700ml
Number of bottles soldLimited quantity
Suggested retail price9,350 yen (tax included)
Release date July 1, 2021

5. Awards

No awards have been received at this time.

6. Price

6-1. Manufacturer’s suggested retail price

Product name Single Malt Whisky Togouchi
Capacity700ml
Suggested retail price9,350 yen (tax included)

6-2. Resale price on Mercari

The resale price on Mercari is around 40,000 yen to 46,000 yen for the set with Single Malt Sakura-o, which was released at the same time. (*As of July 2, 2021)

6-3. Sold price on Yahoo Auction

The lowest bid price on Yahoo Auction was 40,000 yen, the highest was 40,000 yen, and the average was 40,000 yen for the set with the Single Malt Sakura-o that was released at the same time. (*Statistics for the past 120 days since July 2, 2021)

6-4. Rakuten, Yahoo Shopping, Amazon

Currently, the product does not seem to be sold on any mail order sites. (*As of July 2, 2021)

6-5. Price offered at BAR SHINKAI

At “BAR Shinkai”, which is operated by this website, we offer it in small quantities such as 1 cup, 45ml: 3,630 yen, 30ml: 2,420 yen, 15ml: 1,210 yen.

7. Summary

Togouchi’s maturation cellar is located 800 meters above sea level in the mountains, and the whiskey is filled with the fresh air of the mountains. The taste is also completely different from the single malt whiskey Sakura-o released at the same time, fruity, estery, sweet and light.
Even though the barrels used for maturation and the location of the maturation cellar are different between “Single Malt Sakao” and “Single Malt Togouchi”, they are so distinct that it is hard to believe that they were distilled at the same distillery.

■Please check out the other articles on the Sakurao distillery.

Lastly: Recommended Books on Japanese Whisky

If you would like to learn more about Japanese whisky, which is a worldwide trend, we highly recommend these books.

(1). Japanese Whiskey as an Education for Business

This is a book written by Mamoru Tsuchiya, a world-famous whisky critic and representative of the Whisky Culture Research Institute, titled ” Japanese Whisky as a Culture that Works for Business.
The book covers the basics of whisky, the introduction of whisky to Japan, the birth of Japanese whisky, advertising strategies and the rise of Japanese whisky, and the current rise of craft distilleries. This is a book that summarizes Japanese whisky in a very easy to understand way.

(2). Whisky Galore Vol.25 April 2021

The April 2021 issue of Whisky Galore, published by the Whisky Culture Research Institute.
This issue of Whisky Galore, published by the Whisky Culture Research Institute, features the definition of Japanese whisky and a list of 24 distilleries as the latest in Japanese whisky. It also includes an interview with Suntory Chief Blender Shinji Fukuyo, making it a must-have for Japanese whisky fans.

created by Rinker
¥1,320
(2021/07/29 11:50:18時点 Amazon調べ-詳細)

(3). Whisky Rising

This is the Japanese version of Whisky Risng, published in the US in 2016, with much updated content. Not only does it describe the history of Japanese whiskey in detail, but it also includes data on all the distilleries in Japan, including the craft distilleries that have been founded in recent years. The book also includes descriptions of the legendary bottles that have been released, as well as information on bars where Japanese whiskey can be found.

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