Kikori is a Toast to the Zen Life.
Launched in the fall of 2015, Kikori is an up and comer in the Japanese Whisky scene. This new release is owned by Ann Soh Woods of Soh Spirits based out of L.A. Ann is making quite a splash about town, with her 100% rice based Japanese Whiskey, which she chose to spell with an “e,” to distinguish Kikori from other Japanese Whiskies. And rightly so because it's the first of its kind…even the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Bureau didn’t know what to do with it, and where completely unaware of how to classify it at first.
It is similar to Shochu -a Japanese Alcohol distilled from rice or sweet potatoes- but is served at a higher 41% ABV than Shochu's 25-35%.
Woods is pushing the boundaries of Whisk(e)y, thinking outside the box, and not only is she reinventing Japanese Whisky, she's making good product too. Kikori had barely been on the market for a year and it snagged a gold at the 2016 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Needless to say Kikori is killin' the game, and then bringin' it back to life as a waking Japanese dream dram.
And not to get all PC bro, but Whiskey is a pretty male dominated industry, “It is always assumed that I am a sales representative when I visit accounts, and it is always a pleasant surprise when they find out I am the founder.” Said Woods in an interview with Munchies Magazine.
Kikori is distilled in Kumamoto on the island of Kyushu, Japan, the birthplace of Kikori, where the unconventional Whiskey has gained popularity as well. The rice is sourced locally from the Kumamoto rice paddy, with a volcanic rich soil that makes the rice unique. The signature rice is cooked in giant steel steamers, and distilled using pure mountain waters that flow through ancient volcanic rocks millions of years old.
So enough talk, how does it taste? The rice gives it a unique aromatic profile with a floral and fragrant aroma, and a velvety smoothness to the palate. It is aged for over 3 years in American Oak, French Limousin oak and Sherry casks.