White Oak is a Japanese distillery near Kobe, run by a company named Eigashima. Although the company has a long history in distillation (mainly sake and shochu but also whisky since 1919) their first single malt was not released until 2007, an 8 years old now replaced by a 12 years old. They’re labelled Akashi after the town the distillery is in.
In Europe we can now find limited quantities of three White Oak versions: a blended version at 40% and the 5yo and 12yo single malt versions.
Akashi White Oak 5 yo (45%, OB 2011)
Nose: smooth with lots of yellow apple, powder sugar and angelica fruits. A bit synthetic. Honeyed tea. Corn flakes. Unfortunately there’s also a yeasty / rubbery side to it which doesn’t seem to fit, a strange mixture of plastics and cookie dough.
Mouth: sweet with a rather weak attack. A simple malty core, with plenty of apple flavours again (cider) and grainy notes. Ginger maybe, but that’s about it. Not exactly raw but pretty immature and synthetic nonetheless.
Finish: very short and rather grainy.
Although Eigashima is proud of its oldest Japanese license to distil whisky, this White Oak is a far way from more experienced producers like Yamazaki or Karuizawa. Around € 45.