Takamine, a koji-fermented whiskey, arrives in the United States

Koji, a type of mold, has been used in Japan for centuries in the fermentation needed to produce soy sauce, miso, and sake. It can also...


Koji, a type of mold, has been used in Japan for centuries in the fermentation needed to produce soy sauce, miso, and sake. It can also be used to ferment grain for whisky, which is usually made with malted barley. Takamine, an exceptionally smooth koji-fermented whiskey from Shinozaki Brewery & Distillery in Japan, is now available in the United States. It has a light mushroom aroma and deserves to be drunk neat. You could call his arrival a comeback: in the 1890s, Jōkichi Takamine, a Japanese chemist who married an American, moved to Chicago and began producing koji-fermented whiskey. After the distillery was destroyed by fire, he turned to medical research in New York and later isolated the chemical adrenaline. His success allowed him to donate cherry trees to Washington, DC, and establish the Nippon Club in New York. He played a diplomatic role after World War I and is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx. The 8-year-old whiskey is the first product to bear his name.

Takamine 8 Year Old Koji-Fermented Whiskey, $99.99, drizly.com.

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