2002 Suginishiki Shochu 14YO Sherry Cask
Ordinarily Japan’s traditional rice spirit, shochu, is not barrel aged, but when Sugii-san started making it in 2000 he became fascinated with the way barrel ageing of whisky, results in rich aromas. He was not able to draw a picture that would explain clearly how the initial clear and very simple aroma of the drink right after distillation becomes so rich and flavourful by the end of the process. So Sugii-san bought himself a book about the production process of whisky and visited the Yoichi and Miyagikyo whisky distilleries run by Nikka Whisky, where he was able to see the change from the freshly distilled spirit to 3 and 5 year aged versions. The transformation brought by contact with the natural materials from which the barrel is made was surprising and astonishing. The taste created inside the barrel is a mysterious thing that cannot easily be replicated by artificial aromas or other means.
Suginishiki Sherry Cask 14 Year Old Barrel Aged Shochu has a pungent spice and caramel nose with raisin and a hint of wood. The palate is round and generous, which focuses into complex spice, fruit and a hint of sweetness.