We’ve seen a lot of wonderful whiskies come out of Japan in recent years, each with their own unique story. While the renowned Yamazaki, Hibiki, Hakushu, and Nikka brands lead the way, smaller distilleries like Chichibu, Mars Shinshu, and White Oak are quickly rising through the ranks and reaching a global audience.
As we continue on our mission to deliver whisky from Japan across the world, we’re overjoyed to introduce Kamiki, the world’s first whisky to be finished in Japanese Cedar.
Kamiki is new but has managed to shine on the global stage. Most recently, at the Ultimate Spirit Challenge 2018, Kamiki was the best performing Japanese whisky, scoring 95 points, ahead of many other whiskies from Japan. As Kamiki joins our huge selection, we want to tell the story behind the spirit and convey some of the passion and vision that has gone into creating this exciting new whisky.
Kamiki – God’s Breath
In Japanese, kami means God while iki means breath. The name of the whisky speaks of Mount Niwa, which has been regarded at the “Mountain of The God” since ancient times.
The story of Kamiki begins at the Omiwa Shrine, at the foot of Mount Niwa, in Nara, Japan. The shrine is known throughout the country, as a place where alcohol is served as a blessing, produced by the region’s alcohol makers.
Kamiki whisky launched to take this tradition further, by creating blended whisky which joins Japan’s nature, history, and artisanship with the modern craft of world blended whisky.
Some of the finest malt whiskies from around the world are brought to Japan and blended with Japanese whisky to create a balanced expression, before being blended with Japanese water and finished in a type of wood otherwise unheard off in whisky maturation.
Yoshino Sugi – Japanese Cedar
Oak is the globally accepted wood type used for aging whisky. Some countries, like Scotland and the US, have strict rules regulating what can be called Scotch, or Bourbon. In Japan, however, the lack of rules allow for more experimentation, which the team behind Kamiki have utilized greatly.
Yoshino Tsugi is native to Japan, known in English as Japanese cedar. The Sugi wood has been used for centuries to build ships, shrines, and temples. The Yoshino variety, which is local to the Yoshino area in Nara, is the type best suited for casks and has been used widely in sake-making since the 1700s. Japan’s Hakushika Sake company states that “the fragrant, luxurious wood of the Yoshino Sugi was deemed to be the best for packaging and shipping the delicious sakes from Nada and reached extremely high demand, making supply a concern.”
The aromatic wood is now used to finish the Kamiki blended whisky, after the team works hard to source and construct the casks to house it. As the whisky is blended when the best flavour profile is reached, and not through a calculated ratio, each batch of Kamiki delivers a different experience.
The Taste of Kamiki
“Aromas of honey-dipped apples and peaches are followed by dried fruit and a whiff of campfire smoke. The palate carries the aforementioned notes forward, now joined by fresh incense, ginger, and sandalwood from the cedar. The finish is satisfying yet subtle, bringing the whole experience to a balanced close.”
by George Koutsakis.
Kamiki is a new, smooth, and accessible blended whisky that is quickly reaching fans worldwide. There is much to come, as the team continues to experiment and explore new possibilities within Japanese culture.
Stay tuned, as the sunrise comes once more in the land of the rising sun.