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Chugoku Jozo

Chugoku Jozo age much of its Togouchi whisky in an old abandoned railroad tunnel below the streets of Hiroshima. That got your attention, didn’t it? This particular story begins in 1970, when the JR Japanese railway company drilled a 361-meter long tunnel to extend a line, in a project that ultimately proved to be in vain. The tunnel was left unused, practically useless (I know your pain, sweet tunnel). That is until Chugoku Jozo found an alternative purpose for it; assessing that it possessed the ideal conditions for ageing shochu and whisky. Now that’s recycling. Such a specific process is necessary to individualise its Togouchi, because the malt and grain whiskies used in the composition actually come from Scotland and Canada. Ageing, blending and bottling are the processes carried out by the team of Chugoku Jozo. The result is whisky with character resembling Scottish and Canadian vintages, but with a uniquely Japanese blending process. The company tempers the unique aroma of peat from Scotch whisky by blending it with milder liquid for a finish to better suit Japanese taste. The whisky is then reduced to an ABV of 40% using pure spring water from the Sandankyo mountains. Togouchi may begin with Scottish and Canadian malts and grains, sure, but it is not without Japanese identity or heart. As Chugoku Jozo President and CEO Koichiro Shirai tells us: “Alcohol is not merely a beverage. It enriches lives like a good friend, letting us kick back and relax. They are a culture in itself.” Since 1990, Chugoku Jozo has attempted to make its whisky part of the culture. Now it’s up to you to see how they’re doing.

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