The Awamori/Shochu Spirit at the foundation of the Ryukyu line of Spirits with a smooth character and clean finish.
The Kumesen Distillery — Kumesen Syuzo — was founded in Okinawa, Japan, in 1952. Their first product was Awamori — a Shochu beverage distilled from special Indica rice and served at 30-40% ABV. Then in 1989 they began to age their Awamori in oak casks, creating a rice-based Whiskey. The products are exceptionally popular in the Japanese islands and the rich flavors of their signature Spirits are building a global fan base.
Kujira Ryukyu Whisky is the core, rice-based Whiskey that leads off the line-up. Although officially a "non-age statement" dram, the distillery declares that it has been aged in new, virgin white oak for more than three years. The warm, sub-tropical climate of the islands means that Whiskies mature faster. And since the casks are new, they easily deliver a ton of flavor to the party.
Smartass Corner #1:
Awamori — the base Spirit — gets its name from the fermentation process. The word translates loosely as "rising swelling bubbles" and the fermentation is started with black koji from Okinawa.
Smartass Corner #2:
The "Ryukyu" line of Whiskies from Kumesen Syuzo gets its name from the Japanese island chain stretching southwest toward Taiwan from mainland Japan. This chain includes hundreds of islands from small coral atolls to large mountainous islands, the largest of which is Okinawa.