6. WHISKY BY AWAMORI DISTILLERY
Awamori is regional traditional spirits made from rice in Okinawa islands. Normally they are using stainless pot still but only Helios Shuzo is using copper pot still.
1961 Helios Shuzo
1987?-2008? 1st Distillation
2015?- 2nd distillation
Helios Shuzo located at Okinawa, southern west island of Japan next to Taiwan.
Fortunatelly they are using copper pot stills although almost all toher Awamori distilleries are using stainless pot still. They were exporting to Taiwan between 1999 and 2008 when they stopped whisky distillation but didn't sell in Japan in that period.
However some stock casks were bottled and released to Japense market in 2015 & 2016. They seems to have restarted whisky distillation in 2015.
Story of Helios distillery
Helios whisky was only in Taiwan
Their 1st whisky business was only for exporting to Taiwan.
They wished exporting Awamori (local rice base spirit) to Taiwan but it was not allowed by Taiwan law to protect thier own traditional spirit. So that they decided to start whisky distillation in 1987 and exported to Taiwan market in 1999.
Their 1st whisky business ended in 2008 due to financial crisis with 2,000L stock cask. These stocks were used for Reki 15Y which was relased only 200 bottles in 2015 and Reki blended malt of own distilled malt and import bulk in 2016.
When Helios Shuzo was exporting whisky only to Taiwan between 1999 and 2008, their whisky name is "Kamiya" It is very interesting name because Denbe Kamiya was key person of alcohol industry modernization in late half of 19th century and beginning of 20th century in Japan.
He founded Chateau Kamiya which is one of the 1st winery in Japan in 1898, Kamiya Shuzo(Godo Shusei today)in 1903, Kamiya bar in 1912. Kamiya Shuzo started to produce imitation whisky which made from alcohol, sugar, caramel and other additive. Godo Shusei were distilling whisky around 1980. But these companies had no presence in Taiwan even before WW2.
So it is mystery why Helios Shuzo used Kamiya name for thier whisky in Taiwan.
Bottle by Helios
Kura Malt series
Gold Rum Satokibi no Uta
Helios White Rum