JIM'S DESERT ISLAND WHISKEYS
Umiki is a sustainable whisky where we use only pure ocean water for blending. We are committed to share the value of living in harmony with our beautiful planet through the lifetime of Umiki.
Umiki Japanese WhiskyBOTTLE DETAILS
NOSE: Caramel | Corn | Spiced Cherries | Toasted Oak
TASTE: Rye Spice | Oak | Faint Sweet Honey | Green Apple
FINISH: Medium with lingering sweetness and some grain
SHARE WITH: While young, this is a blend to share with your “drink curious” not too judgy friends.
WORTH THE PRICE: I found Ingram an interesting expression. I am generally a Midwest Grain Products fan, and I like to support craft distillers/blenders with innovative ideas. With all that being said, at over $70 for a less than 4-year-old, sourced, blended whiskey, this would be a tough sell for me.
BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: This whiskey is not a bust. It has interest and depth that you wouldn’t expect by its age. The blending is done well and with the innovative take on aging, I will give it a BAR rating. Try it first, if you can, before you buy. In the fifty dollar range, I would be tempted to go bottle.
OVERALL: O. H. Ingram River Aged Straight Whiskey, I found interesting whiskey. Aged in a floating “rickhouse” at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, in Ballard County, Kentucky. The theory being the gentle rocking of the barrels enhances the aging process. This process has its roots in the river transport of barreled distillate from Bourbon County delivered to New Orleans, with the transformed taste that apocryphally led to our native spirit. Does it make a difference? I have no idea, but there are a lot of people putting barrels on ocean voyages, riverboats, playing music to them, and even aging in cranberry bogs.
I have an issue with brands using invented or unrelated stories to support the “marketing” of their spirits. I don’t see that as an issue with O.H. Ingram. They have family history tied to the river and actually age on floating barges. They don’t hide the source, age, or mash bills of their product. Starting from typically quality rye and bourbon distillate from MGP in Indiana, aging for over three years and blended well, has produced a straight whiskey. It has a surprising depth for a young age. I found it drinkable neat, better with ice, but not particularly suitable for cocktails. My only issue with this product is the price, which is high for what it is. Understanding that the cost of sourcing and barreling probably drives this cost. If you find it in a bar, or you have the resource and drinking curiosity, I would not dissuade you from giving this one a try.
- DISTILLER: Undisclosed. Produced by Yoshino Spirits
- MASH BILL: Undisclosed. Umiki is a blended whisky reportedly made with malt whiskies distilled along Japan's coast. The grain whisky used is imported but the countries of origin are not disclosed.
- AGE: NAS - No age statement
- YEAR: 2020
- PROOF: 92 Proof (46% ABV)
- MSRP: $44.99
NOSE: Pine Resin | Honey | Caramel
TASTE: Spice and Pepper | A Touch of Dry Citrus | Grain | Evergreen comes through with just a drop of water added
FINISH: Most of the flavor is on the front of the tongue, and the finish brings pepper to the back of the mouth, very pleasantly. Most of the finish goes quickly, but there’s a long-lingering warmth with a bit of the pine sticking around. There’s a touch of bitterness, but I liked it.
SHARE WITH: Friends that enjoy different whisky experiences. This isn’t a bourbon drinker’s bottle, most likely, but, for someone a bit adventurous, it’s priced well enough to give it a try. It’s a definite try for Scotch fans. The uniqueness of this bottle has to do with the fact that it’s finished in pine barrels, which sounded really odd to me, but it works quite nicely.
WORTH THE PRICE: Seeing as this is available at around $45, this is definitely worth the price
BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: Bottle. Some bourbon drinkers may balk at a $45 bottle for something different, but it’s nicely priced for a Japanese whisky. Even though it’s a blended whisky, it’s done very nicely. I wish the producer was more open about how long it was aged in pine barrels, and from where the grain whisky was sourced, but this is a well-done whisky with a different take than others on the shelf.
OVERALL: I can’t say I was really looking forward to this whisky, so I was surprised to find how much I really like it. It drinks a bit hotter than it’s 92 proof, but just a drop of water affects that nicely. Too much water, and it’s just kind of a sweet water; add water judiciously, but do try it with a drop or two. The whisky is made with desalinated ocean water, and the company makes a big deal about that. it’s just water, though, but at least it’s clean water, and it actually makes a decent whisky.
The secondary maturation of the whisky is what really makes a difference with this, not the water. I really did enjoy this experience, and it's a bottle worth having for those wanting to try something different. I really didn't think a pine finish sounded like a great idea, but it really works!
Curt has a love for things that taste good, starting in barbecue competitions, then moving to teaching cooking classes, writing a food blog and writing for national grilling-related companies, and, currently, as a regular on a local news show in SW Ohio doing food segments (for which he’s become known for his use of bourbon in food). In fact, when interviewed about his top five cooking ingredients, bourbon was included in that list.
Curt’s love of whisky goes back years, but, more recently, his wife encouraged him to have more than one partially filled bottle of Lagavulin by buying an Ardbeg for him for Christmas, then letting him add more and more to his collection. Now amassing a pretty nice little group of Scotch, bourbon, and ryes (and a few other whiskeys here and there), Curt enjoys his whiskey mostly with nothing but a couple drops of water (but is fine with a whiskey cocktail now and then, too). Curt’s feeling is that you don’t have to like the same whisky he likes, but he hopes you enjoy yours as much as he’s enjoying whichever is currently in his glass.
Read Curt's full profile.