A couple of weeks ago we were kindly sent a couple of expressions from a Japanese distillery we had yet to come across: Kamiki. Kamiki is a new expression of premium Japanese style whisky blessed by Omiwa priests from Nara. Nara is the ancient capital of Japan and it holds many temples from Shinto, Tengri and Buddhist religions, which makes Nara The City of Temples.
Kamiki production is protected by Omiwa Temple priests. Omiwa is one of the oldest extant Shinto shrine in Japan over thousand years old and protecting local alcohol producers ever since. To celebrate the timeless alcohol tradition of the region, rare Japanese malt whiskies and finest malt whiskies sourced from rest of the world are blended and later fused with the highest quality pure spring water.
Nara is covered with dense Yoshino Sugi (Japanese Cedar) forests. Yoshino Sugi is used to build temples, burnt in temples to calm mind and to age local alcohol products. Kamiki uses a unique second maturation technique, while blend is rested for a second time in Yoshino Sugi –Japanese Cedar- casks to capture a perfectly smooth taste, a scent of sandalwood on the nose and a zest of green tea in the finish. This second maturation makes Kamiki the first whisky in the world to have a Japanese Cedar Cask Finish.
Kamiki name is derived from the Miwa Mountain (Mountain of God), which is protected by Omiwa Priests. Inspired by beautiful breezes coming from Miwa, the whisky is named KAMIKI, where KAMI means God and IKI means breath.
On the nose: there is a lovely waft of spiced apples, poached pears, vanilla, lemon zest and a delicate hint of lavender. These initial notes are closely followed by a perfume-like aroma, a hint of smoke, candy sticks, cinnamon, cloves and rosemary. Completing the nose are notes of jasmine oil, mint some green herbaceous and tropical notes, aniseed and some cedar wood. On the palate: notes of candy apple and poached pears make an immediate appearance, closely followed by charcoal, lemon zest and a touch of vanilla. Notes of cinnamon, star anise and cracked black pepper start to emerge, alongside aniseed and marmalade. Rounding-off the nose are a hint of tropical notes, green herbs, lavender, mint, parma violets and cedar wood. The finish: is medium/long, bittersweet, with lingering notes of aniseed, smoke, mint and oak.
The verdict: The Japanese are very meticulous when it comes to creating anything and this trait runs true throughout their whisky. This Kamiki Blended Malt is a beautifully balanced whisky, with tonnes of character. With an ABV of 48%, in my opinion it didn’t need any water at all. However, you may want to add just a few drops of water or leave it to breathe for 5 – 10 minutes.
Kamiki Blended Malt Japanese Whisky is available online or in well-stocked Whisky Shops, for approximately £60. For more information on the Blended Malt, visit the official Kamiki website.