KUJIRA 31 Years Old Ryukyu Whisky, the Ultimate Taste from the Subtropics
Longest Aged Single Grain Whisky from subtropics Opens the New Era of Japanese Whisky
Another exciting news for Japanese whisky fans this Autumn. Kujira 31 Years Old Ryukyu Single Grain Whisky was recently released by the 138 years history distillery - ”Masahiro Shuzo” from Okinawa. This is the longest aged whisky from Okinawa, and is the only aged 31 years or above whisky from the entire subtropics regions. The Kujira whisky is a single grain whisky that was distilled from Indica rice, which is very rare to see in the world. For whisky fans, especially from Rice Culture countries, this is a whisky that makes people feel familiar and excited.
The Whisky Distilling Method Origin from World War II
Masahiro Distillery was founded in 1883 by Shobun Higa, whose father Shozoku Higa was the Master Chef for the ancient Ryukyu Kingdom. With the help of Shozoku Higa’s reputation and connections, the distillery was awarded the license to make the traditional Okinawan spirit ‘awamori’ and has since established itself as one of the oldest and largest distilleries in Okinawa. Today, the 8th generation and master distiller of Masahiro Distillery, Masayasu Higa, inherits the tradition of 140 years history, making the Kujira Whisky by the Japanese craftsmanship. In fact, the Okinawa has been making whisky for a long time. In order to satisfy the demands of whisky from stationed U.S. military, distilleries in Okinawa have tried to distill the whisky since World War II. Okinawa, Japan’s southern-most prefecture, is the hottest place in Japan. The hot weather helps to speed up maturation for oak casks which would typically need more time in other whisky regions. Thanks to the special condition, the whisky from Okinawa is very popular among stationed soldiers. The inherited whisky-making experiences and skills are the main reasons that Masahiro Distillery makes such extraordinary whisky.
A Perfect Combination of Awamori Culture and Whisky Distilling
Unlike Scotch or Asian whiskies, “Kujira Whisky” focused on making their own flavors, which come from:
1. Distilled by 100% Indica rice and Okinawa’s unique “black koji” for the mashing and fermentation process before maturing in oak casks that give the whisky a unique character. Okinawa is part of the Ryukyu Islands, which are a chain of subtropical islands. Thanks to the island’s warm climate, whisky takes less time to mature and thus has a stronger aroma and a bolder taste. The special flavor from Indica rice further gives the whisky a long and unique aftertaste.
2. “Awamori” was given as gifts in tribute to Japan Shogunate and China by the Ryukyu Kingdom in the Middle Ages. As French Champagne, Awamori could only be distilled by certified distilleries, and could only be produced in Okinawa prefecture of Japan. Thus, Awamori is often described as the “King’s Spirit”. Masahiro Distillery applies their techniques and know-hows from Awamori, crafting Kujira Whisky by maturing the most premium rice whisky into oak casks, and generates a unique yet profound taste that is unable to duplicate in any other places in the world.
3. The Masahiro Distillery produce the Kujira 31 yeas old whisky by using ‘hybrid distillation’ method, blending new make spirits distilled from horizontal and vertical pot stills, in order to get the ultimate aromas from Indica rice.
The new makes are then poured and matured in multiple premium oak casks for years to get the unique grain whisky exclusively from Ryukyu Islands. The newly launched Kujira 31 Years Old Single Grain Ryukyu Whisky is distilled by Master Blender, Mr. Arakaki Sunao, using 100% premium rice and matured more than three decades in ex-Sherry, Bourbon and White Oak Casks before finishing in first-fill Oloroso casks.
Handmade Limited Whisky
Surrounded by sea and mountains, Masahiro Distillery locates in Okinawa, situated at blessed subtropical climate that brings subtle fruity and floral flavors and robust body to the whisky during maturation process. Highly complex and beautifully balanced, this whisky exhibits delicate sweet elements of caramel, dried fruits and oriental botanicals.
Each bottle of the Kujira 31 Years Old Ryukyu Whisky is individually numbered and labeled in handmade Japanese paper. With only 999 bottles released globally, this is the apex of Ryukyu Whisky and the jewel in the crown, for now or never.
Color: Dark amber
Nose: Dried fruits, caramel, oaky spices, hint of tropical botanicals.
Palate: Rich sweet elements of dried fruits, toasted oak, caramel pudding, perfume, and hint of tropical herbs.
Finish: Smooth, elegant, and long finish lingering with toffee and fruity flavors.
Distillery: Masahiro Distillery
Alcohol Content: 43%
*The Kujira 31 Years Old Whisky is currently only available in Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and France.
KUJIRA Ryukyu Single Grain Whisky Series is a collection of new make whiskies jointly launched by the representative distillers in Okinawa, Japan. The KUJIRA whisky were saccharified, fermented, and distilled with 100% Indica rice and black Koji unique to the area and then aged in oak casks to achieve a unique whisky flavor. The Ryukyu Islands are a subtropical archipelago at the southernmost tip of Japan, and the birth place of KUJIRA Whisky.
Kujira means “whale” in Japanese. The whale is a symbol of generosity and peace. Long plagued by war, the Ryukyu Islanders consider the whale as the guardian of peace and nature.