The Kurayoshi Sherry Cask

Another one of these new brands that try to surf the wave of Japanese whisky. This is created by the little-known Matsui Shuzou, originally a sake and shochu producer founded in 1910.

Don’t let them fool you though: like most of these unknown names, the Kurayoshi range consists of blended malts, made with Scotch whiskies (!) shipped over to Japan, where they are blended with small portions of local whisky. Mind that Japanese whisky is not a clearly defined category so we can’t be sure of the nature of the spirits used: all kinds of grain spirits (even mixed with up to 90% other alcohols) can be called whisky in Japan.

Although it may seem crazy from our European point of view, the end result can legally still be called Japanese whisky. It seems the big Japanese distilleries are working on stricter regulations for the future, but until that happens, ‘bastard’ whiskies will continue to erode the reputation of proper Japanese whisky. Remember Yamazakura or Fujikai?

There is a Kurayoshi 8 Year Old Sherry Cask but this ‘Pure Malt’ Kurayoshi Sherry Cask version doesn’t have an age statement. It appears to be ‘over 3 years old’, obviously.



Kurayoshi Sherry CaskThe Kurayoshi Pure Malt ‘Sherry Cask’
(43%, OB +/- 2018)

Nose: nutty and grassy. Above all very young, a little spirity. Hints of cheap rum, plum eau-de-vie and calvados. Walnuts. Over time fresher citrus notes appear (lemon and lemongrass).

Mouth: a very rough alcoholic taste. It tingles, but doesn’t have much flavour except for a bit of raisins and vague caramel notes. Hints of muesli too. Just to put things in perspective: it’s worse than Johnnie Walker Red.

Finish: short, not so good.

Roughly between € 75 and € 100, depending where you look. There’s nothing to justify this pricing, so just avoid it. If you want real Japanese whisky, better stick to the established distilleries.

Score: 60/100