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This non-aged (ippanshu means “common alcohol”) vintage of awamori from the Yonaguni brand is produced on the eponymous island. Distilled from indica rice imported from Thailand, this is undoubtedly the oldest and most traditional spirit of the Okinawa archipelago, created at a time when the islands were still independent of Japan. Bottled at 30% ABV, the strength considered to be ideal for this type of beverage, it displays spiced notes of rice powder as well as flowers and fruit (lychee).
This spirit boasts a long history, with roots that date back to the 15th century and manufacturing techniques that are said to have been imported by South-West Asian traders. The term ‘ippanshu’ refers to a non-aged awamori, with ‘kusu’ meaning aged awamori and ‘hanasaki’ meaning a special awamori, unique to the island of Yonaguni. Sakimoto Shuzo is the oldest distillery on the island of Yonaguni, which is only 150 km from Taiwan and is one of just three distilleries on the archipelago to make ‘hanasaki’. A very special sub-category of awamori with 60.5% ABV, it was originally reserved for the personal consumption of the royal family of Okinawa. Having lost all of its stocks of old awamori during the Second World War, Sakimoto Shuzo is now working for the future, as are many of the distilleries in Okinawa, by gradually rebuilding its collection of awamori that is in the process of ageing.
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The Edradour distillery is known most of all for the individual style of its single malt, which is exported throughout the world. Interestingly, the distillery’s owner Andrew Symington, has begun working on special finishes, each one more innovative than the last (Burgundy, Chardonnay, Châteauneuf-du-pape, Madeira, Moscatel, Port, Sassicia, Tokaji, etc.), with these new releases revolutionising the distillery’s somewhat outdated image. Under the directorship of Iain Henderson, the former director of Laphraoig, at the end of 2002 Edradour began producing a second, very peaty, single malt called Ballechin, the name of a former distillery in the region. Find out more
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