Why you need Japanese Mizunara Oak Casks – Whisky News

Why you need Japanese Mizunara Oak Casks

Japanese Mizunara Oak is perhaps one of the rarest oaks used in storing whisky, indeed more scarce than European or American, and so much more expensive than the rest…

The wonderful story of Mizunara Oak…

Its story begins in World War Two. During the war, much like most other countries, Japan had no access to imports, making whisky maturation from ‘traditional’ barrels nearly impossible. Although whisky itself was not of the most importance during this time, its consumption levels increased as it was becoming the main drink consumed by the Japanese army. Therefore, producers had an increase of demand and little imported oak to mature whiskies.

Japanese whisky distillers had to find an alternative, which lead to using Japanese Mizunara oak. This alternative made perfect sense, why import when you could just use local oak instead. This eventually led to the widespread use of Japanese oak within the whisky world, or better known globally as “Mizunara Oak”.

The supply of this oak was not without its initial struggles; the two hundred year wait to make a proper cask, the shape of the tree and whether it is more prone to leakage are just some examples of what the Japanese had to deal with. Up until very recently, Mizunara oak was deemed to be below the standard of American and European oaks. Ask any self-proclaimed whisky expert and they’ll tell you Mizunara oak is at the highest level of prestige and is deemed the finest oak to mature whiskies. 

Why is Mizunara Oak so different (and so much more expensive) than traditional oaks?!?

Firstly, its flavour profile widely differs from that of a traditional barrel. When left to mature correctly, a Mizunara aged whisky offers predominantly fresh fruit, cocoa nibs, coconut, vanilla, floral honey, and blossom. It also contains a subtle hint of Japanese incense (known as “Kara”) and spices, including nutmeg, mace, clove, which all get added to the whisky. To achieve this, maturation takes roughly twenty years but can be much lower.

Its expense comes purely from its prestige and rarity. Mizunara oak is extremely well-regarded and seen as very luxurious and superior. Limited supply is also an issue regarding its price, as Mizunara oak is tough to source, even in Japan. The Whisky Cask Company offers virgin Mizunara casks, which will genuinely enhance and greatly increase the value of any whisky matured within the casks. It is also one of the only companies that offer an investment into this cask, which should lead to even higher returns. 

Why is it good for keeping whisky? 

The unique flavour profile previously stated is a good start, combine this with the exclusivity of the wood makes it the best option for storing whisky. Its exclusivity helps increase the selling price, as even partly blending the Mizunara whisky with another significantly increases its cost and appeal. Pure bottles can sell for $1000+. Most of the whisky matured in Mizunara oak is sold exclusively in Japan, meaning casks and bottles outside of Japan will sell for much more.

The Whisky Cask Company brings the Finest Scotch to a Global Market. For additional information, visit www.whiskycaskcompany.com.

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