‘W’ is for women and for whisky – so put it on the list for Mother’s Day

 Togouchi Whisky and Akashi Whisky.

It’s no longer just for the men. Whisky that is. For Mother’s Day 2023, here’s a new thought to pore over – or should that be ‘pour’ over? Whisky used to be thought of as the domain of men but with more women than ever enjoying the spirit, that is no longer the case. In 2020, market research firm Kantar* reported that women in the UK drank 40 million more glasses of whisky a year than they did in 2010, a rise of 15%, compared with a decline of 6% among men.

For whisky fans who wish to expand their knowledge further, the launch into the UK of Japanese whiskies is likely to attract even more followers, according to Amber Beverage UK which is selling Togouchi Whisky and Akashi Whisky. They are beautifully crafted spirits, but very different compared with more familiar whisky expressions.

These Japanese style whiskies are delectably delicate and complex but lighter than traditional Scotch. They appeal to a new generation of spirits drinkers and the way they are served – often as lighter, long drinks – means that these whiskies are perfect for Spring and Summer, and for lunch on Mothering Sunday.

Japanese Whisky Suggested serves are to drink these neat with a large ice cube or as a refreshing long drink served with plenty of ice topped with soda water and garnished with a herb or fruit zest of your choice. In Japan, these light whiskies often accompany a meal and there is a growing trend here in the UK for refreshing cocktails to accompany food rather than being relegated just to the start of an evening.

The Togouchi Whisky range includes highly unusual whiskies that have been finished in beer and sake casks.

There are four Togouchi expressions that are new to the UK: Togouchi Beer Cask (40% ABV), Togouchi Sake Cask (40% ABV), Togouchi Pure Malt (40% ABV) and Togouchi Single Malt (43% ABV). These join three existing UK SKUs: Togouchi Premium (40% ABV), Togouchi 9 YO (40% ABV) and Togouchi 15 YO (43.8%).

This is a high-end, artisanal Japanese whisky brand produced by Sakurao Brewery & Distillery, which is based in Hatsukaichi, a small distillery in southern Japan. Founded in 1918, the distillery has been producing sake and other liquors and began creating whisky in 1990.

The elegant 70cl bottle design reflects the design of the company’s Shochu jars. Togouchi Premium Blended Whisky is available through Waitrose at £44.50 and other SKUs are priced at up to £160.

Oldest and most distinguished sake producers

Akashi WhiskyAnother perfect gift may be round in the Akashi range. Check out Akashi Blended Sherry Cask (50% ABV), Akashi Blended (40% ABV), Akashi Single Malt (46% ABV), and Akashi Single Malt Sherry Cask 5 YO (50% ABV).

The distillery which makes Akashi, the Eigashima Distillery, was founded in 1888, and is owned by one of the country’s oldest and most distinguished sake producers. The Eigashima company’s own history dates to the 1700s. It wasn’t until the early 20th century that Eigashima Distillery was granted a licence to produce whisky and the first whisky was distilled in 1984.

Unusually, this distillery produces whisky during only one month of the year. The range of exhilarating, light, fresh whiskies are delicate and sophisticated and usually served as long drinks served in a highball glass with water and ice or in contemporary cocktails.

The whiskies are stored before release for between 3-8 years mostly in oak casks previously used for bourbon, sherry, wine, or sake Akashi Blended Whisky is available through Waitrose priced at £33 for 50cl and other SKUs in the Akashi collection are priced at up to £135.