Koji, a type of mold, has been used in Japan for centuries in the fermentation process needed to produce soy sauce, miso, and sake. It can also be used to ferment grains for whiskey, usually made with malted barley. Takamine, an exceptionally smooth koji-fermented whiskey from the Shinozaki Factory & Brewery in Japan, is now available in the United States. It has a light mushroom aroma and deserves to be nibbled on neatly. You could call its emergence a comeback: In the 1890s, Jōkichi Takamine, a Japanese chemist married to an American woman, settled in Chicago and started making fermented whiskey koji. After the distillery was destroyed by fire, he turned to medical research in New York and continued to isolate the chemical adrenaline. His success allowed him to donate cherry trees to Washington, DC, and establish the Nippon Club in New York. He played a diplomatic role after World War I and was buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx. The eight-year-old whiskey was the first to bear his name.
Takamine 8 Years Old Fermented Koji Whiskey, $99.99, drizly.com.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/31/dining/takamine-whiskey.html Takamine, a Koji Fermented Whiskey, Coming to the United States