A statement from the German whisky maker noted that Mizunara oak is common in several regions of Japan, and is among the rarest and most expensive wood used to mature whisky.
For this particular whisky expression, the Japanese oak for this 225-liter, medium toasted, single cask is about 250 years old. It was harvested in the forests of the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido.
The statement went on to explain that the long-time coopers of Ariake Sangyo set up the casks, and tackled the often difficult task of wrangling the Mizunara oak staves, binding them together. Even the barrel heads were made of Mizunara oak.
In all, St Kilian Distillers imported four medium toasted virgin casks directly by plane from Japan in August of 2019.
Master Blender Mario Rudolf explained further that Mizunara oak is known for its unique aromas of sandalwood, oriental spices and exotic fruits, which give the whisky distinctive characterful aromas.
“This masterpiece of whisky craftsmanship reflects the synergy of Japanese finesse with German distilling art in Scottish pot stills,” he said. “The exceptional single malt promises an incomparable taste as well as an exquisite enjoyment experience for discerning connoisseurs.”
Managing Director Philipp Trützler said that according to their research, this is the first non-Japanese single malt whisky to be matured in a single, fresh, unoccupied Mizunara oak cask.
The result of the maturation, he said, provides a taste of ripe fruit and exotic melon paired with warming oak notes, oriental spices and fragrant sandalwood aromas.
Further details on Cask No. 3886 show that the angels’ share was 4.7% of the initial content, much higher than the normal 2-3%. The age of the single malt was three years prior to the few months of finishing.
“The cask filling strength was lower than regular, at 55.2 % ABV, as we intended to generate more sweetness in the whisky,” Rudolf said. In all, 300 bottles of St Kilian’s Exceptional Mizunara were produced.
This is the first of a new St Kilian range, which will see future casks and thematic, exclusive single malts that have matured in one of the 371 different cask types in the nearby St Kilian Bunker City.
There are a few Exceptional Mizunara St Kilian bottles left at the distillery for direct sale, and they carry a price tag of €249.
To find out more or to find a bottle, check out www.stkiliandistillers.com.