Ohishi Islay Cask Finish started out life as two ex-Brandy casks which were fully matured over several years before being transferred to a cask that previously held an Islay whisky. By which they mean it previously held a heavily peated whisky, the exact distillery the cask came from was never released, but that’s not overly important really as this is the first batch, the success of which will pave the way for future releases. It was finished in that Islay cask for 8 months.
I know the guys responsible for the Ohishi Islay Cask Finish have connections to Kilchoman, but from what I understand the cask didn’t come from them, but having that connection does open some cool opportunities. With the way the rice spirit soaks up flavors from the wood it’s not too hard to imagine a future where we get an Ohishi Islay Cask Finish done in a Loch Gorm barrel; peat n’ sweet with a rice delivery, how awesome would that be?
That’s not the end either. In addition to sherry casks Kilchoman uses Buffalo Trace ex-bourbon barrels, madeira barrles and other wine barrels. The opportunities are endless if those two distilleries worked together, but who knows if they will. The only thing we know for sure is what’s in front of us so let’s get on into the Ohishi Islay Cask Finish review.
Ohishi Islay Cask Finish Info
Mashbill: 100% Rice
Cask Strength | Non-Chill Filtered | Natural Color
Ohishi Islay Cask Finish Review
Honey, pears, minerality, Smarties, vanilla taffy, rice sweetness, peat and a bit of malty sweetness and clove.
Minerality, pears, honey, peat, vanilla taffy, butter, menthol and sake-like sweetness with a touch of spice and tropical fruit.
Long smoky fade of fruit, vanilla taffy and minerality.
BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
Well balanced, medium body and a soft silken feel.
Ohishi Islay Cask Finish is some unique stuff. Seriously, it’s unlike any other Islay or Islay cask aged / finished whisky I’ve had, it’s remarkable what happens to that rice spirit in the Islay cask. The mineral aspect reminds me of a young Laphroaig but with less smoke and a bit more balance and elegance.
The minerality is sharp and provides and a pillar for the rest of the notes to circle around as they make their way through the senses. Ohishi Islay Cask Finish is odd, a bit perverse and it scews with my senses. I keep wanting to say I’m drinking young Laphroaig or young Kilchoman… but it doesn’t quite match because of the rice sweetness so my brain wants to keep going through its whisky Rolodex to find what it is I’m drinking. It’s new… but not.
Setting aside the sensory trickery, which is a good thing BTW, the Ohishi Islay Cask Finish is a solid sipping whisky. It’s amazing how well the rice spirit absorbs the smoke from the cask and now I can’t help but wonder what it would be like if they peated some malted rice. I bet it would be awesome.
SCORE: 88/100 (B+)