Kikori Japanese Whiskey: Our Drink of the Week!

If the legend is to be believed, Visu the woodsman, living in the Suruga region of Japan, worked too hard. An old priest paid him a visit and told him he was leaving no time for prayer. Visu abandoned his work for prayer, which left his wife and children starving. The short of it is that he chased a fox into the woods and stayed for 300 years, mesmerized. Returning to his home, finding his house gone and his wife and children had died, he apparently recognized the importance of a balance between work and life.

Kikori, which translates to “woodsman,” uses a much tamer version of this tale to stress the balance of its whiskey.

While you probably won’t be so consumed as to abandon your family while drinking Kikori, you’ll be impressed at what it imparts on your palate. Most Japanese whiskeys are made from malted barley, but Kikori is made from 100 percent rice. The rice gives each sip a mellow, slightly sweet flavor. It has light notes of vanilla, not unlike a smooth Kentucky bourbon. But unlike bourbon, the coloring of Kikori is much lighter, almost yellow, owing to three years in oak and sherry casks. Despite its smoothness, at 82 proof, this can be enjoyed straight and also holds up remarkably well in a cocktail. Pick it up at your nearest Total Wine & More, and remember: Visu was a SAVAGE.

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