Rice is nothing new to whiskey production. It has been a casual player in experimental whiskies here and there in the U.S., usually as a minor ingredient in one-off bourbon recipes. But to date no all-rice whiskey has ever been made. That is, until now.
A new Japanese distillery, Kikori, makes only all-rice whiskies. The technique screams of a marketing ploy (and for all we know could have started out that way), but the result — a subtle, interesting whiskey — deserves a space on your shelf.
The rice in their whiskey makes its presence known in the way it would in a good saké. The wood takes over from there. A mixture of American oak, second-use Limousin oak, and ex-sherry barrels give this whiskey subtle depth over an aging period of three to 10 years.
Let’s be clear: Kikori is no bourbon, where the flavor and color are dialed up to 11 by raw, charred barrels and bold grains. Kikori is more subtle — light, bright, sweet and herbal. In other words, it’s a perfect combo for a cocktail.
For $50 it’s versatile and would do very well in a Japanese-style highball, but sips just as well neat. At 41 percent ABV, you’re safe trying a few different things in one evening to see what you like. kikoriwhiskey.com