Whisky on the Red Dot #08

FEATURE

High Hopes for the New Pot Still

A More Temperate Climate Means Faster Maturation

The distillery’s unique pot still features an unusual glass hatch, specially designed to allow the distillers to intimately observe the distillation process. The onion-shaped still also features a lyne arm with a downward angle ten degrees steeper than the one in Shinshu.

“This angle makes it more difficult for steam to escape, so it keeps the spirits locked in and we don’t lose any of the subtle, sophisticated flavors that are released in the distilling,” Mr. Kusano explains. “The new pot still provides all of the rich and powerful, yet easy-to-drink flavor that our whiskies are known for.”
Once a new batch of whisky is distilled and barreled, the barrels are set to mature in the old stone aging cellar which formerly served as a shochu store room. A batch of malt whisky from Shinshu has been aging here for about three years, during which time it has acquired a tantalizing vanilla aroma.

The angel’s share, the volume of whisky lost to evaporation during the aging process, is about six percent per year, or roughly double what it is in Shinshu, consistent with the accelerated rate of maturation.

An eager young generation of craftspeople is bringing their know-how, energy, and enthusiasm to bear on the challenge of creating new and unique whiskies in Tsunuki, a completely different environment than Shinshu.

These young people have inherited the hopes, dreams, and vision of the local whisky industry.

Words: Shingo Sano
Photography: Yasuyuki Emori

Mossy stone storehouses where shochu has been in continuous production since 1909. Railroad tracks draw up to the side of the storehouse, a remnant of an era when cargo was primarily shipped by train.

Mossy stone storehouses where shochu has been in continuous production since 1909. Railroad tracks draw up to the side of the storehouse, a remnant of an era when cargo was primarily shipped by train.

The gorgeous bar and café Hojo is located next to the distillery in what had been the president of the distillery’s mansion. The sprawling single story house has been meticulously restored and is now open to the public.

Mr. Kusano feeds imported German unpeated wort from Bestmalz into the mill. He uses a blend of malts for each brew, and he will also incorporate malt from Crisp of Scotland into this batch.

The barrels are crafted from cherry-lined American oak. In addition to the various whiskies, wine, sherry, and plum wine are also stored here.

アセット 1