Bainbridge Yama is the first-ever non-Japanese whiskey to be aged exclusively in hand-crafted barrels made from rare Mizunara oak harvested from the Japanese island of Hokkaido.
Bainbridge Yama Single Grain Japanese Mizunara Cask Whiskey takes its name from the village of Yama, founded on Bainbridge Island in 1883 by Japanese immigrants coming to Bainbridge Island to start new lives and realize new opportunities. The small Yama village was a thriving place, with a traditional Japanese teahouse, Japanese baths, Buddhist temple, a hotel and shops and populated by Japanese families with lots of children. The closure of Port Blakely Mill in 1922, an employer for many of the men living in Yama, caused village residents to relocate to different parts of the island where they took up farming or opened shops and other small businesses.
More than 90 years later the Yama village site, overgrown and reclaimed by nature, represents the last undisturbed Issei (First Generation Japanese immigrant) village site in the United States not destroyed by development. Bainbridge Organic Distillers' founder Keith Barnes first envisioned Bainbridge Yama Single Grain Mizunara Cask Whiskey as a way to draw attention to this piece of history from the distillery's Bainbridge Island home. To this end the bulk of the profits from the sale of Bainbridge Yama Mizunara Cask Whiskey will support ongoing efforts to document and preserve the unique Japanese and American history and heritage of the Yama village site for future generations. PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF BAINBRIDGE ISLAND HISTORICAL MUSEUM
Bainbridge Yama Mizunara Cask Whiskey begins its journey from grain to glass in the fertile fields of Washington state's Skagit Valley where organic Full Pint and Alba barley is grown on a family farm near the saltwater confluence of the Skagit River and the Puget Sound. After harvest the barley is trucked 77 miles to Bainbridge Organic Distillers facility, where the un-malted grain is milled, mashed and fermented.
After fermentation the mash is double-distilled. Cuts are made "by hand" and based on the qualities of the spirit as it flows from the still. After the second distillation the whiskey is diluted to 126.5 proof in preparation for being introduced into the virgin Mizunara casks.
Bainbridge Organic Distillers' Mizunara casks begin their life in the forests of the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. A very small number of Mizunara oak trees (Quercus crispula) are hand selected for harvest based on the vitality of the tree and the straightness and quality of the wood. After harvest the Mizunara oak is quarter-sawn and then air-dried in Japan for at least 3 years. When the rough wood has fully seasoned Bainbridge Organic Distillers imports the wood to the United States.
After inspection the rough sawn wood is sent to a small 4th generation family-owned barrel cooperage where it is expertly fashioned into 10 and 15 gallon barrels. Bainbridge Organic Distiller's Japanese Mizunara oak casks are made from some of the most rare and celebrated wood in existence today.
After barreling Bainbridge Yama whiskey will rest in 100% virgin Japanese Mizunara oak cooperage until it is mature and ready for bottling. The combination of small barrel size, oxidation encouraged by the porous nature of Mizunara oak and storage in the warm stillhouse within sight of the copper still creates what we think are the perfect conditions for maturing whiskey in this incredibly unique and special wood. The finished whiskey bears this out. Ruddy copper in color, Bainbridge Yama Whiskey is un-chill filtered and free from additives, flavor enhancers and coloring agents, and bottled at 90 Proof or 45% ALC./VOL.
Bright aromatics of mango, vanilla, toasted sandalwood, tropical flowers, marzipan and star anise. Flavors open on nutmeg and clove, pear and toasty wood notes, settling out to honeyed vanilla and toasted marshmallow. Finish is warm and lingering with fading spice and a pleasant oak grip.