Ohishi Whisky Sherry Cask Review

Ohishi Whisky Sherry Cask Review

Ohishi Whisky, at the moment, is a single cask product made in Japan from rice and is essentially an uncut barrel aged shochu like Kikori and Fukano. Ohishi Whisky is made at the Ohishi distillery in Kumamoto Japan on the banks of the Kuma River.

Founded in 1872, Ohishi grows 30%+ of the gohyakumanishi rice they distill which they grow as organically as possible and even employ Koi to handle weed control in lieu of herbacide. After being distilled in Ohishi’s stainless steel stills, the new make Ohishi whisky (uncut shochu) is put into either ex-Sherry or ex-Brandy casks and set aside to age until it’s ready to be bottled.

This particular bottle of Ohishi Whisky was put into an ex-Sherry cask and based on the color, aroma and flavor it appears to have been a first-fill. Cask 1257 is dark, rich and, as you’ll see below, an excellent example of just how good Ohishi Whisky can be.

Ohishi Whisky Sherry Cask Info

Region: Kumamoto, Japan

Distiller: Ohishi

Mashbill: 100% Rice
Cask: ex-Sherry (first fill)
Age: NAS
ABV: 43.3%

Cask Strength | Non-Chill Filtered | Natural Color

Barrel: 1257

Price: $72

Ohishi Whisky Sherry Cask Review

EYE
Blood red

NOSE
Sherry! Oaky, ashy, nutty, bits of citrus, grainy sweetness and dried dark fruit and leather. A touch of peppery spice rounds it out nicely and alludes to something that might open more with time, but the initial impression is quite nice.

PALATE
A sherry bomb explodes on the palate sending shrapnel of rich vanilla, citrus, dried dark fruit, oily nuts, ash, oak and a strange but alluring sweetness. Like the aroma it has a bit of pepper to it and hints at opening up to more complexity with time.

FINISH
Long and fueled by sherry with bits of cocoa, dark fruit, ash and spice.

BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
Fantastic sense of balance, round full body and a heavy satisfying feel.

OVERALL
Holy crap this Ohishi Whisky Sherry Cask 1257 is freaking awesome. The aroma and flavor come across like a well matured, first-fill sherry aged, Scotch and in a recent blind Japanese tasting I thought it had to be something like a sherry aged Hakashu. Which, as a side note, the SMWS bottling of from a few years ago is my favorite Japanese whisky of all time and blew away the famous Yamasaki sherry cask in a side by side.

To add some additional perspective here, I’ve had four or five other Ohishi whiskies and while all were interesting and at the very least drinkable, none had the depth and complexity of Ohishi Whisky Sherry Cask 1257. In a recent blind tasting of 34 Japanese whiskies it tied with the Ichiro Mizunara and a 34 year old Kariuzawa as my favorites of the night. The other Ohishis in the tasting came in at varying levels from C – B. Single casks can shift quite a bit, but I know I’ll be watching for more of these ex-Sherry casks to hit the market in hopes of finding another like this Ohishi Whisky Sherry Cask 1257

SCORE: 90-92/100 (A-, not consumed at home)

Ohishi Whisky Sherry Cask Review
  • Nose - 92
  • Palate - 92
  • Finish - 92
  • Balance, Body & Feel - 92

Summary

Ohishi Whisky Sherry Cask 1257 is an astounding whisky and makes me excited for more to hit the market.

Ohishi Whisky Sherry Cask Label

Josh Peters
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Josh Peters

I read about, think about, write about, and drink whisk(e)y. In short, it's my passion.
Josh Peters
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14 Responses to Ohishi Whisky Sherry Cask Review

  1. Hi Josh,

    Thx for the fantastic review. I bought a couple bottles of cask 1028. Even though it was a lower abv at 40.4%, it was a really good sherry bomb with a long finish. I’m really curious about the brandy cask ohishi whisky. Have you tasted this? If so what are the tasting notes?

    Thx
    Edward

    • Hi Edward. That’s awesome, gotta love those sherry bombs. I’ve had a couple of the brandy casks, but haven’t sat down with one to do a formal review yet. From what I remember they show case MUCH more of the shochu character than the sherry casks do.

  2. Great review Josh! Reading this makes me want to go buy one of the shochu whiskys now, as I’ve been a little Gun shy on buying a rice based whisky.

    Does it really and truly remind you of a traditional scotch style?

    Slainte!

    • Hey DK,

      It does. When I tasted it in a 34 blind Japanese tasting I thought that either someone slipped in a heavily sherried scotch to mess with us or it was a Karuizawa. As a caveat to that, the ones aged in refill sherry barrels that only have a bit of that sherry influence definitely taste more like you’d expect a barrel aged shochu to taste with a bit of sherry sweetness. It’s these first-fill sherry casks you have to look for. This is the only one I’ve had, but I hear more are coming.

  3. Picked up a bottle based on your review at Astor Wines (Cask 1212). It was quite a good sherry bomb and I love the uniqueness of a rice-based whisky.

    Cheers,

    Andy

  4. Bought a bottle from cask 661 . Disappointed to say it was not the shrry bomb that Josh has described. It was just a middle of the road Japanese style soft whisky without much of a finish or intensity. Had a bit of the rice wine (shochu) flavor to it.

    • I’ve never had cask 661, but that is a bit of the risk with single cask products. Hopefully I’ll be getting to try some more in the near future to help point out the excellent ones.

      Thanks for sharing!

  5. Just bought and am tasting cask 1019. This is only the second Japanese whisky I’ve bought and have to say – it is delicious. I prefer single malts and select bourbons and am just starting in on Japanese whisky. Ohishi is one I’ll have to add to my set of regulars. The sherry cask gives amazing flavor! Long finish on this one.

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