We first met Ann Soh Woods, co-founder of Kikori Whiskey, at the Cocktails and Conversations event at The Ambrose Hotel a few weeks ago. We can count on one hand the number of women we've met who own spirits companies, so when there's a chance to speak with a girl who broke into the boy's club, we get excited.
Kikori Whiskey is a Japanese, rice-based whiskey made on the island of Kyushu in southern Japan. For those who understand the important role that terroir plays in the final product, Kikori is produced with rice from fields anchored in volcanic soil, earth that has lent itself to this particular crop for over two millenniums. After the distillation process, the whiskey is aged for three years in oak barrels to pull in one more note of flavor before being bottled and distributed worldwide.
On a recent evening in Brentwood, California, Ms. Woods hosted a dinner party for a group of Los Angeles women with a decided interest in quality and beauty. We sat amongst an art collector, a YouTube fashion expert, a couple food writers, a boutique jewelry store owner, a celebrity PR firm owner...and this was just at our end of the table. The evening was kicked off with a menu of custom cocktails, and followed by a gorgeous four-course dinner paired with tastings of Kikori.
I'd describe Kikori as a mild whiskey built with complex flavors. Those who are accustomed to adding a couple drops of water to their bourbon, whiskey, or rye in order to open up the flavor can skip that step with this spirit. The notes of wood, vanilla, tart apple, and dry vermouth pop right out. It's perfect for sipping or mixing, serving neat or adding ice. It's also a bottle to keep in mind for gift-giving this holiday season...the exterior is as classy as in the interior.
We're very excited for Ann and her partners as they launch their brand, and anticipate endless success.