The White Oak distillery was founded in 1888 in southern Hyogo, the City of Akashi. The distillery is located on the shore Seto inland sea just west of Kobe, an area with a mild, stable climate. Originally a sake producer, White Oak was the first distillery in Japan to obtain a whisky license in 1919. Original distillation methods were largely based on skills gleaned from shochu production but continues with a respect for Scottish tradition, with the use of pot stills and malted barley from the UK.
Scenic, reasonably comfortable one-hour train rides from the heart of Kobe city delivers you practically to the doorstep of the White Oak Distillery. The distillery is in Eigashima, which is located in the city of Akashi. The whisky produced at this distillery is of a small proportion as the company’s main production concentrates on Japan's iconic beverages – sake and sochu.
Although the distillery was founded in 1888, they dabbled in whisky from 1919, but genuine whisky distilling did not take place until the company built a new facility in 1984 to house the production of malt whisky. Prior to this all the whisky that was produced was used in a variety of blends known as White Oak.
The low production of malt at the distillery means that little whisky can be aged long enough to be adequate for single malt bottling. The pot stills are only fired up once a year for a very short time. In 2007, they made their debut and joined the single malt industry by releasing their first single malt.