【Review】Single Malt Japanese Whisky Togouchi

Ltd. (SAKURAO B&D) (formerly known as Chugoku Brewery Co., Ltd.), famous for its SAKURAO GIN, launched a project in 2015 to build a new distillery as a 100th anniversary project.

SAKURAO DISTILLERY was born in Hatsukaichi City, Hiroshima Prefecture, known as the town of Itsukushima Shrine, a World Heritage Site, and started operation in January 2018.


In July 2021, the 1st Release Cask Strength of Single Malt Japanese Whisky SAKURAO and Single Malt Japanese Whisky TOGAUCHI are launched.

About a year later, the single malt was released in a watered-down version with an alcohol content of 43%.

 

Although the limited number is not certain, it is likely to be shipped to restaurants, hotels, bars, and other commercial outlets, as well as to a reasonable number of retail outlets for general consumers.

1. Manufacturer

Sakurao Brewery and Distillery Co.

Founded 1918
Head Office Location1-12-1 Sakurao, Hatsukaichi, Hiroshima 738-8602, Japan
Owned DistillerySakurao Distillery

2. Distillery

SAKURAO DISTILLERY

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

Sakurao Brewery and Distillery Co. in Hiroshima Prefecture is a long-established brewery established in 1918.
In fact, it has a deep history of whisky making, and was engaged in the production and sale of malt whisky from 1938 to 1989. At that time, the distilled spirit was stored in a warehouse in Togouchi that utilized a JR West Japan railroad exploratory tunnel.
In 2008, the company began selling Togouchi Whisky, a blend of the original whisky stored in the Togouchi storage facility and imported original whisky. (90% of the product is exported to Europe.)

In December 2017, as a 100th anniversary project, new equipment was installed to produce high quality single malt whisky and a craft distillery “SAKURAO DISTILLERY” from Hiroshima was built. distillation started in January 2018.

December 2017SAKURAO DISTILLERY is completed.
October 2018SAKURAO DISTILLERY VISITOR CENTER opens
2019SAKURAO DISTILLERY second phase construction (introduction of grain whisky distillation equipment and new whisky storage facility)
March 2021Company name changed to Sakurao Brewery and Distillery Co.
Image Exhibit: SAKURAO DISTILLERY|Hiroshima’s craft distillery for the world[ /caption].

3. Product name and photo

Single Malt Japanese Whisky Togouchi

Single Malt Japanese Whisky Togouchi

4. Characteristics

Matured in a tunnel in a cool environment deep in the mountains

Togouchi in Aki Ota Town stands out for the beauty of its scenery and the colors of its rich forests and clear streams, including Mount Osorakan (the highest mountain in the prefecture), Mount Sinnyu, and Sandankyo, a special national scenic beauty spot. The Togouchi storage facility is housed in a tunnel that was once used for railroad purposes. The tunnel is about 800 meters long, and cool breezes pass through it all year round. The dark storage cellar, where temperature and humidity are kept constant throughout the year, allows for a slow maturation process. The wine has a refreshing aroma of vanilla, apple, marmalade, and mint, and a light, smooth mouthfeel.

Image Exhibit: SINGLE MALT JAPANESE WHISKY Sakurao & Togouchi

4-1. Tasting Notes

AromaVanilla, green apple, fresh fruit, mint
TasteSweetness of milk, slight acidity of apple and fig.
AftertasteSweetness from the bourbon barrels and a fresh, dry aftertaste

4-2. Product Specifications

Alcohol content43% (bourbon barrel alcohol)
DistillateSingle malt Japanese whisky
Cask typeBourbon casks
Content volume700ml
Number of bottles soldLimited quantity
Suggested retail price6,600 yen (tax included)
Release date June 6, 2022

5. awards received

No awards received at this time.

6. Price

6-1. Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price

Product name Single malt Japanese whisky Togouchi
Capacity700ml
Suggested retail price6,600 yen (tax included)

6-2. Resale price on Mercari

There appears to be no listing on Mercari at this time. (*As of 6/21/2022)

6-3. Sold price on Yahoo! Auctions

The lowestbid price on Yahoo Auction was 7,950 yen, the highestbid price was 7,950 yen, and the averagebid price was 7,950 yen

(*Statistics for the past 180 days from 6/21/2022)

6-4. Rakuten, Yahoo Shopping, Amazon

The product does not appear to be currently available on any of these retail sites. (*As of 6/21/2022)

6-5. Price offered at BAR Shinkai

At “BAR Shinkai” operated by this site, it is offered in small quantities such as 1 cup, 45ml: 1,980 yen 30ml: 1,320 yen, 15ml: 660 yen

.

7. Summary

Compared to the Togouchi Cask Strength version released last year, the aroma is sweet and fruity and gives a good impression, but the drinkability is a bit lacking. The refreshing sweetness is enhanced by drinking it chilled on the rocks.

 

Sakurao distillery has already started producing grain whisky, and in a few years they will be able to make 3-year-old grain whisky. The distillery is also increasing its production of malt whisky and seems to be producing a variety of malt whisky. I think they are one of the top class distilleries in terms of production volume among domestic craft distilleries.

I have high expectations for their future releases.
The tunnels used for aging at Togouchi are characterized by the low temperature difference throughout the year and the speed of aging is gentle. In fact, there is not only one tunnel, but another….

■Please check out our other articles on the Sakurao Distillery.

Lastly: Recommended Books on Japanese Whisky

If you want to learn more about Japanese whisky, which is a global trend, we highly recommend these books.

(1).Whisky Galore Vol.29 December 2021 issue

In the December 2021 issue of Whisky Galore, published by the Whisky Culture Research Institute, we report on 11 Japanese craft distilleries, including some that are open to the public for the first time, under the title of “Japanese Whisky Craft Frontline,” the first of three consecutive issues. Why did the popularity of Japanese whiskey and the craft boom occur? We will examine with interviews. Chichibu Distillery / Chichibu No.2 Distillery / Mars Shinshu Distillery / Mars Tsunuki Distillery / Kanosuke Distillery / Hioki Distillery / Ontake Distillery / Osuzuyama Distillery / Kaikyo Distillery / Hanyu Distillery / Konosu Distillery

created by Rinker
¥1,320
(2022/08/15 23:08:11時点 Amazon調べ-詳細)

(2). Japanese Whisky 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.

(3). Whisky and I (Masataka Taketsuru)

Masataka Taketsuru, the founder of Nikka Whisky, devoted his life to brewing whisky in Japan. This is a revised and reprinted version of the autobiography of a man who simply loved whiskey and talked about himself. The book vividly depicts the days when he went to Scotland alone to study as a young man and overcame many hardships to complete Japanese whisky, as well as his companion, Rita.

created by Rinker
¥1,849
(2022/08/15 08:24:53時点 Amazon調べ-詳細)

(4). A Letter of Challenge from a New Generation Distillery

Launching in 2019. With the world experiencing an unprecedented whisky boom, what were the managers of craft distilleries thinking and what were their thoughts as they took on the challenge of making whiskey? This book tells the stories of 13 craft distillery owners, including Ichiro Hido of Venture Whisky, famous for his Ichirose Malt, who inspired the birth of craft distilleries in Japan.

created by Rinker
repicbook(リピックブック)株式会社
¥1,870
(2022/08/15 10:37:30時点 Amazon調べ-詳細)

(5). Whiskey 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 whisky can be found.

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