Matsui Shuzou Distillery was founded in 1910 northwest of Kyoto on the facing the Sea of Japan in Tottori Prefecture. Importantly, the distillery is within sight of Mount Daisen — a volcanic peak rising more than a mile above the surrounding fertile plains. This is significant because the spring water used to distill their Sake, Shōchū, and Whisky and bring it to proof has filtered through volcanic stone for eons — resulting in significant purity and a unique, soft mineral composition.
The Matsui Shuzo Distillery keeps a low profile. It’s almost enigmatic with no visitor center or direct sales. But the line Whiskies that comes out of their warehouses are very highly regarded — including ten Single Malts under the Kurayoshi brand and five grain Whiskies under their Tottori nameplate. All of them very popular with the discriminating dram-lovers across the Land of the Rising Sun.
When Matsui Shuzo Distillery started out more than one hundred years ago, they only produced Sake and Shōchū. Whiskies were added later, and this is the one that started it all. Kurayoshi Pure Malt Whisky a 100% malted barley Whisky, sourced from distilleries around Scotland, before making their way to Japan, where it is blended with Japanese Whisky, aged, and cut to proof with the famous volcanic stone filtered water. The spirit is distilled in copper pot stills and aged in ex-Bourbon casks for a minimum of three years before being bottled at 43% ABV — the perfect strength if you ask us. This core offering exhibits the signature flavor profile of Kurayoshi Whiskies with an emphasis on raisins, warm nuts, and vanilla.
Nose: Walnuts and chocolate peanuts, with a touch of cranberry.
Palate: Sultana and honeyed bread, with a lingering touch of ground ginger.
Finish: Crunchy brown sugar, stewed pears and blueberries.