KAIYō Whisky | Japan
Jeffrey Karlovitch is Master Blender of KAIYō Whisky and is considered one of the top whisky experts in the world. He has provided consulting services for many major brands and has worked with various Japanese whisky brands. As a Master Blender, his palette is regarded as one of the most refined in the industry. In 2012, Jeffrey was especially honoured to become a Keeper of the Quaich, an honour bestowed upon those individuals who make exceptional contributions to the whisky industry.
At KAIYō Whisky Jeffrey selects specific barrels of raw whisky spirit, made by some of the most respected names in the Japanese Whisky game, that he then wants to use for the KAIYō blend. The base whisky is then transferred to the most expensive and complex oak barrels in the world; Mizunara Oak. Mizunara Oak casks are among the rarest casks in the world and are considered the finest in which to mature Whisky. The native Japanese Mizunara oak tree is incredibly difficult to cut and shape, and only the most skilled coopers can work this wood. Firstly, these oak trees must be a minimum of 200 years old before they are large enough to be used. In addition to this, the wood is softer and has more knots in it, making it harder to cut into barrel staves.
So why go to all this trouble and expense? It's because of the incredibly complex range of flavours Mizunara oak imparts on the spirit inside. Oak is the most influential factor in the flavour of whisky, and Mizunara brings flavours of orange, lavender, dried berry, coconut, honey and vanilla, as well as a deep mahogany colour and luxurious, creamy soft mouthfeel.
To further enhance the whisky, it embarks on its own journey through the seas from Osaka Japan which lasts up to three months. In only three month’s time, a distinct and extraordinary aging effect is infused into the whisky as a result of the sea maturation. The aging effect of whisky is the result of a chemical reaction; heat is a natural catalyst in a chemical reaction. While on its sea maturation, KAIYō whisky is subject to variations of temperature. For an extensive period of the journey, the whisky is exposed to warm climates, providing higher temperatures, thereby accelerating the aging process. Additionally, whilst at sea, the whisky experiences frequent alterations of air pressure allowing the mizunara oak to contract and expand, varying the levels of oxygen at given times and beckoning the mizunara oak to release its delicate flavours and aromas.