Onikishi Japanese whisky launches in Australia

by Alice Brooker

Brand builder Milestone Beverages HK has partnered with spirits distributor Iconic Beverages to debut Onikishi Japanese blended whisky in Australia.

Onikishi translates to ‘demon knight’ in English. It is produced in Taka District in Hyogo, Japan, an area that is said to be the geographic centre of the country and the birthplace of sake rice Yamada Nishiki. Damith Weerakoon, director of marketing and operations at Milestone, said: “We developed Onikishi to capture the imaginations of Japan fans, anime enthusiasts, casual samurai wannabes – and marry this to the world of Japanese whisky where interest and pricing had become all too serious. "Onikishi is a whisky for all to stand out on any shelf, tell an interesting story and please the palate, paying homage to the enduring essence of Japan. We are thrilled to have Iconic as partners to unleash Onikishi within Australia.” On the nose, the blended whisky delivers woody aromas of white oak, nuanced by honey, heather and a floral scent. The palate presents flavours of honey and vanilla, followed by notes of caramel and warm cedar smoke. Meanwhile, the finish contains a kick of yuzu zest. The bottling aims to reflect Japan’s cutting-edge technology and contrasting roots in ancient traditions and folklore. Onikishi is recommended served neat, on the rocks or in a cocktail, such as a Highball or a Coffee Sour. Dean Terranova, founder of Iconic Beverages, commented: “With the ever growing popularity of Japanese whisky we saw a clear opportunity and perfect space in our portfolio to bring Onikishi to Australia. It seems like we’ve picked a winner and are ecstatic to already have Onikishi in spirits specialists Vintage Cellars and First Choice within weeks of arrival.” Last month, The Spirits Business caught up with the master distiller of Shinobu Distillery to learn about his path from beer brewer to Japanese whisky producer, and the facility's major expansion plans.