Ohishi Distillery was founded in 1872, located in the Southwest of Japan, in a beautifully mountainous and scenic countryside. Ohishi sits near the tiny village of Mizukami, and is the closest distillery to the source of the Kuma River, one of the fastest flowing rivers in all of Japan, renowned and prized for its superior water quality. Ohishi has been a family business for five generations, primarily known for its sake & shochu production.
Ohishi Whisky is distilled entirely from rice and aged in either Brandy or Sherry Casks. In order to ensure the quality of the spirit, the Master Distiller utilizes 30% estate grown grain for distillation, with the remaining 70% of rice (Mochi) coming from the surrounding Kumamoto prefecture. Weeds in the estate rice paddies are controlled, by the employment of koi fish to swim about the grass and nibble the invasive plants. Varieties of estate-grown rice include Hino hikari, Mori no kuma-san, Yamada Nishiki, Gohyaku Mangoku, and Gin no Sato. Because of the rice’s efficient and subsequent clean fermentation, Ohishi uses a pot still made from stainless steel, as opposed to copper.
The Brandy & Sherry cask, aging and bottling unfiltered, puts Ohishi’s distillates into an unprecedented category within Japanese law. Because they are made from rice (as opposed to malted barley), the Japanese do not call them “whisky” and because they are bottled with age (hence not clear in color) they are not considered shochu. For these same reasons, Ohishi’s spirits qualify as whiskey in America, something we are very thankful for! From the raw material, to the process, to the aroma and flavor profile, Ohishi carries weight with the most skeptical whisky drinker.