My friends are far too kind.

I recently celebrated my 40th birthday, and, though they shouldn’t have, some of my friends brought me some really wonderful gifts. One such gift from our lovely friend, Maureen—a bottle of Akashi Japanese whisky from the Eigashima Distillery in Akashi City, Japan, near Kobe…where they massage cow because they like them so much, right?

Eigashima claims the dual titles of Japan’s oldest and smallest distillery, having been founded in 1888, thought the distillery has spent the large portion of those years producing the traditional Japanese spirits of sake and shochu sake and shochu. Eigashima only started making whisky in 1984, building a new facility for it as it became more popular in Japan and imports from the west more in demand. The distillery’s whisky season is only 2 months long, lasting from May 31st to July 31st, with the rest of the year being dedicated to sake and shochu. They import specialty barley from Scotland and make use of the same water from their underground spring that they use to produce their traditional spirits. From Caskers: “This, combined with the fact that less than five employees handle all of Eigashima’s whisky production, makes the distillery’s signature Akashi White Oak Japanese Whisky some of the rarest in Japan, not to mention elsewhere around the world.”

The end product is beautifully rich and insanely smooth lending a “malty, citrusy aroma with scents of black cherry, toffee and oak. Notes of vanilla and pine nuts dominate the palate, and lead to a long, malty finish” (again, Caskers).

Highly recommended as a lovely sipping whisky and makes for a nice citrusy Manhattan with orange or yuzu bitters.