My knowledge of whiskey tends to be limited to: “Oh yeah, I think I tried that with [insert band]” – moments when I was far more focused on my interview notes than picking up notes of oak or citrus or flowers in our shots. The subtle nuances have become more perceptible over time, but could I pass a blindfolded whiskey taste test? Well, I know I’d get at least one point if Umiki were part of that lineup, because it really stands out. Umiki’s site, which showcases a list of thirteen awards, bills it as “the first ocean-fused whiskey finished in pine barrels.” Made by Yoshino Spirits, Umiki is both delicious and purposefully designed – nomenclature included, since “Umi” (海) means ocean and “Ki” (木) means tree in Japanese.
Their use of filtered desalinated ocean water is not only environmentally conscious, but noticeably beneficial to the flavor, which they accurately describe as “exceptionally smooth with sea-breeze on the nose, rounded floral taste on the palate, and a soothing freshness in the finish.” Ocean and pine have cultural significance too as explained by the Osaka-based brand. “Ocean is known as the source of life with its vast resources and placed in the heart of Japanese culture. Pine tree is the symbol of life where gods are believed to reside and a symbol of eternity in Japan with its long life.” The packaging, designed by Erhan Özden and also produced with sustainable materials, brings the pine and sea elements into focus on the bright blue label.
The authenticity of Umiki is even cooler considering the well-covered racket in which “Japanese whiskey” can be a misleading term. Loose regulations reportedly enable companies to simply import Scotch whiskey into Japan and call it Japanese whiskey. Unlike these phonies, Umiki is the real deal and that’s clear when you have a sip. As aficionados have noted, it would be interesting to know how long Umiki Whisky has been aged. That said, it’s tough to come up with any other input for this tasty luxury product. I enjoyed it neat on numerous occasions (as one does in a pandemic) before thinking to mix it with anything – a testament to its palatable smoothness.
If you set aside the fear of disrupting these rich hints of the Pacific Ocean, you’ll find that it makes a mean whiskey sour and pairs nicely with fruit juices. And really, could there be a finer choice for a beach-themed beverage? Here’s a special P&W recipe to enjoy during your July 4th festivities today. If you dig sophisticated spirits that taste like the seaside, you can order your own bottle of Umiki from multiple retailers.
P&W’s Pineapple Umiki Whisky Sour
4 oz fresh pressed pineapple juice
1.5 oz of Umiki Ocean-Fused Whisky
1/2 oz of fresh squeezed lemon juice
Shake well and serve on ice. Garnish with a lemon.
Article: Olivia Isenhart