Roe & Co. Releases First of its Kind Japanese Sugi Finished Blend

Roe & Co Irish Whiskey today announced the launch of a whiskey that is the first of its kind, Roe & Co Japanese Sugi.

Recently there have been a large number of Irish whiskey releases but few have caught my attention as much as this Irish release with a Japanese fusion.

This new Roe & Co. Japanese Sugi, showcases a maturation process never before seen within the Irish whiskey category. The team of blenders and distillers in Diageo’s only Irish whiskey facility, have been quietly experimenting with a number of wood types and cask expressions for a while now and this was a very interesting insight into their experimental warehouses.

Japanese Sugi or Japanese Cedar is endemic to Japan and is the feature wood of this new release. Instead of creating casks of this new wood type, (this author estimates due to Sugi/Cedar being a softwood as opposed to cask types usually being constructed from tight grained hardwoods) they created “elongated bungs” that when hammered into the cask heads, reached the 4/5 of the length of the cask. Five of these lightly toasted cask length bungs were inserted into the heads of each of the ten casks that were laid down in this project. The casks themselves were made from American oak, although, it is not clear if these were ex-bourbon barrels or virgin American oak.

These lengthy bungs were left to diffuse their unique flavour characteristics to the spirit by increasing the surface area of the wood in contact with the spirit. These experimental casks delivered one of the most interesting and enjoyable whiskey experiences I have had in a while. A true intrigue to the senses.

According to the press release “Japanese Sugi was the ideal wood to use in this innovation as its porous nature imparts flavours fairly quickly, but also adds beautiful, natural aromatic and perfumery compounds to the liquid. Think matcha tea, toasted sandalwood, the sweetness of lychee and pineapple mint, earthy notes from orris wood and treacle toffee. These unique flavour notes are layered with the backbone notes from Roe & Co Blended Irish Whiskey, such as vanilla, toffee and spiced orchard fruits, it’s a journey for the senses.”

For me this whiskey has a incredible nose that pulls you right into the glass with notes of freshly ground white pepper, grains of paradise, juicy fleshly fruit with a backbone of vanilla. The palate is bursting with flavour that brings you back for more. Pepper, and juice fruits reign with the very enjoyable spice from the palate lasting long into the sweet finish.

I, for one, was incredibly impressed with the 25ml whiskey sample that I recieved and I will definitely be buying a bottle for myself.

Roe & Co Japanese Sugi will be exclusively available from the Roe & Co Distillery and available for pre-order from 18th August via the distillery’s online store. Priced at €80 per bottle, Roe & Co Japanese Sugi will be available for shipment across ROI and NI.

Link for pre-order from 18th August 

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