Kikori Rice Whiskey Puts New Twist on Japanese Spirits


Japanese whisky gets a new, but very traditional twist in the United States with the import of Kikori Whiskey. Whereas Japanese whiskies like Nikka and Suntory are made in the Scottish style, Kikori is a rice whiskey, made with the famed rice from Kumamoto.

Rice farming in Kumamoto is nurtured by the ideal climate, pure groundwater and rich volcanic loam of Kyushu, the southernmost of Japan’s main islands. After steaming the rice, the touji (master distiller) oversees the two-mash fermentation process, before distilling the mash in a single batch and casking it in American Oak, repurposed Limousin French Oak and sherry barrels from Spain. After 3 to 10 years of maturation, the whiskey is ready for bottling.

Kikori Whiskey reflects an affection for the spirit held by Los Angeles-based Founder, Ann Soh Woods, who was looking to create a unique and versatile whiskey that could be enjoyed daily. Exposed to Japanese culture at a young age with frequent family visits to Japan, Ann fell in love with Japanese cuisine, a passion which in later years grew to include wine and spirits. When an opportunity to work with a Japanese distillery presented itself, Ann felt it was kismet. “I was thrilled to be able to introduce a spirit to the US market which was familiar, yet retained the essence of Japanese flavors, traditions and impeccable quality.”

Kikori Whiskey (750ml/41% ABV) is available for a suggested retail price of $49.99 at merchants throughout the four states including Bar & Garden, Mel & Rose, K&L Wine Merchants, Mission Wine & Spirits, Courage & Craft, Blackwell’s Wine & Spirits, Hi-Time Wine Cellars and Fujioka’s Wines Times.

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