A fruit-forward dram with a highland temperament.
Matsui Shuzo Distillery was founded in 1910 northwest of Kyoto on the facing the Sea of Japan in Tottori Prefecture. Importantly, the distillery is within sight of Mount Daisen — a volcanic peak rising more than a mile above the surrounding fertile plains. This is significant because the spring water used to distill their Sake, Shōchū, and Whisky and bring it to proof has filtered through volcanic stone for eons — resulting in significant purity and a unique, soft mineral composition.
The Matsui Shuzo Distillery keeps a low profile. It’s almost enigmatic with no visitor center or direct sales. But the line Whiskies that comes out of their warehouses are very highly regarded — including ten Single Malts under the Kurayoshi brand and five grain Whiskies under their Tottori nameplate. All of them very popular with the discriminating dram-lovers across the Land of the Rising Sun.
Kurayoshi 8 Year Old Pure Malt Whisky has been aged a bit differently than it’s siblings. Obviously, it has been aged eight years, which you can tell by the name. But instead of new oak or Sherry casks, this dram has aged in ex-Bourbon, white oak casks. It’s is a 100% malted barley Whisky, sourced from distilleries around Scotland, before making their way to Japan, where it is blended with Japanese Whisky, aged, and cut to proof with the soft ground waters of the legendary volcanic stone filtered water of Tottori Prefecture. The good folks at Matui Shuzo Distillery execute very well and deliver the goods with a complex, ripe mouth feel and gentle orange notes that will remind you of a classic Highland Single Malt.
Mount Daisen is regarded by some ancient religious sects in Japan as a holy mountain — including the syncretic Shugendō faith of "the path of training and testing."