Japan Whisky, Wines & Sake

Japan Karuizawa Whisky.jpg

Although Japan is usually associated with the rice wine sake, there are other varieties of wine produced, although yet to make an impression internationally in the fine wine market.  Japanese wines are usually delicate and made from some combinations of Koshu, Muscat of Alexandria and Muscat Bailey A. However, the most important export in the marketplace for collectors and connoisseurs is Japanese Whisky. Although Japanese whisky took a lead from Scotland, over the last 100 years it has forged a truly unique style and excellent reputation. The country now boasts a broad spectrum of whiskies made with a variety of techniques that are met with astonishing critical acclaim. Below you will find insight into some of the top Japanese whisky producers and beneath that a selection of rare single malts currently on offer.

 

Karuizawa

Karuizawa is a cult brand that garners unprecedented demand and high prices. The tiny Karuizawa distillery was founded in 1955 on the slopes of an active volcano called Mount Asama in Nagano Prefecture and became the first Japanese distillery to export in 1959. Unfortunately it was mothballed in 2000 and despite its supreme quality; the then owners Kirin closed it for good in 2011. It was then purchased by Number One Drinks Company who now distributes the rare and hugely collectable remaining whisky. Now a go-to for collectors and aficionados, although completely unique, the style is generally richly sherried and not entirely un-Scottish due to the cold winters. Its rarity, innovative bottlings, eye-catching labels and cask strength make it extrememly appealing.

 

Suntory, Yamazaki, Hakushu & Hibiki

Suntory is one of the world’s leading brewing and distilling companies. They launched their first whisky in 1929 and revitalised Château Lagrange in 1983. It owns a number of distilleries, with the most important being its single malt distilleries Yamazaki and Hakushu. Suntory releases have an impressive history of IWSC, SWSC and ISC gold medals and “best in class” awards.

 

Yamazaki is Japan’s oldest distillery and probably the most recognisable brand on the international market. Established by Shinjiro Torii in 1924 just outside Kyoto, the distillery uses the same waters that are used in the world-renowned tea ceremonies conducted throughout the region. The importance of this distillery is that this is where it all began for Japan. Now the third largest whisky market in the world, Yamazaki remains the most popular single malt in Japan.

 

Hakushu is Suntory’s second distillery, situated at the base of Mount Kaikomagatake in Yamanashi prefecture, it produces gently smoky whisky, some of which is filtered through charred bamboo.

 

Hibiki, meaning ‘resonance’ in Japanese, showcases the art of Japanese blending. Comprised of single malt and grain whisky from Yamazaki, Hakushu and Chita distilleries, this is Japan's most awarded blended whiskies.

 

Hanyu & Chichibu

Founded in 1941 by the descendant of lineage of sake producers, Hanyu Distillery was located in Saitama prefecture. In the 1980s the distillery moved to making whisky, but production at Hanyu in Southern Japan stopped in 2000 and the distillery was closed and destroyed in 2004, a not dissimilar fate to that of Karuizawa. The remaining stock was saved by the founder’s grandson Ichiro Akuto, who had worked previously at Suntory, Karuizawa and BenRiach.

 

Ichiro Akuto began to release limited bottlings of these Hanyu casks under the name Ichiro’s Malt. As the distillery has closed, the supply is limited and therefore they are highly collectable and highly sought-after. Akuto has since set up his own distillery called Chichibu and moved the remaining stock of Hanyu there. Chichibu follows in Hanyu’s footsteps, also focussing on tiny volume, high quality malt whisky production. The status and reputation of this young distillery is growing exponentially. Their attention to detail sees the team travel to Scotland each year to make their own malt.

 

Releases from both Hanyu and Chichibu have such a loyal cult following that demand outstrips supply. Seeing these malt whiskies on the market is a rare opportunity that should be seriously considered.

 

Nikka, Yoichi & Taketsuru

Founder Masataka Taketsuru, son of a Sake brewer, travelled to Scotland and became an apprentice at a Scottish whisky distillery. After marrying and settling in Campbeltown, he travelled back to Japan set up his Nikka Whisky brand and built Yoichi distillery in Hokkaido and later the Miyagikyo distillery in Sendai. Nikka, now owned by Asahi, produces a wide range of whiskies and also own the Ben Nevis distillery. Nikka describe Yoichi as a: “rich, peaty and masculine malt”, while Miyagiko is more elegant and feminine. Taketsuru is a blend of Nikka’s two single malts and is a tribute to Masataka Taketsuru, who is considered by many as the father of Japanese whisky. Nikka also producer Nikka From The Barrel (a blend of Nikka’s two single malts and grain whisky), Pure Malt, and Nikka Coffey (from the two Coffey stills at Miyagikyo).

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Japan

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MARKET PRICE    ?

N.V. Chichibu Chibidaru 2010 53.5%

92.0

N.V. Chichibu Chibidaru 2010 53.5%

92.0
£302.00
Duty Paid £302.00

N.V. Chichibu On the Way 58.5%

93.0

N.V. Chichibu On the Way 58.5%

93.0
£272.00
£272.00

2011 Chichibu ‘Tay Bak Chiang II’ Beer cask #3303, 59.7%

2011 Chichibu ‘Tay Bak Chiang II’ Beer cask #3303, 59.7%

£1,009.00
£1,009.00

N.V. Hakushu 18 YO Hakushu

N.V. Hakushu 18 YO Hakushu

£294.00
£294.00

1991 Hanyu Single Cask 370 57.3%

91.5

1991 Hanyu Single Cask 370 57.3%

91.5
£1,513.00
Duty Paid £1,513.00

2000 Hanyu Tay Bak Chiang Single Cask 63 58.8%

2000 Hanyu Tay Bak Chiang Single Cask 63 58.8%

£1,635.00
£1,635.00

2000 Hanyu, Final Vintage 15YO, Ichiro’s Malt, 46.5%

2000 Hanyu, Final Vintage 15YO, Ichiro’s Malt, 46.5%

£977.00
£977.00

N.V. Hibiki 17 YO

N.V. Hibiki 17 YO

£190.00
£190.00

N.V. Hibiki 21 YO

N.V. Hibiki 21 YO

£460.00
£460.00

N.V. Hibiki 21YO, Mount Fuji, 43%

N.V. Hibiki 21YO, Mount Fuji, 43%

£858.00
£858.00

N.V. Hibiki 30 Year Old 43%

N.V. Hibiki 30 Year Old 43%

£3,017.00
£3,017.00

N.V. Hibiki 35 YO by Tokuda Yasokichi III, 43%

N.V. Hibiki 35 YO by Tokuda Yasokichi III, 43%

£16,626.00
Duty Paid £16,626.00

N.V. Ichiro's Kiyosato Field Ballet 27th Anniversary 48%

N.V. Ichiro's Kiyosato Field Ballet 27th Anniversary 48%

£1,714.00
Duty Paid £1,714.00

N.V. Ichiro's Malt MWR 46%

N.V. Ichiro's Malt MWR 46%

£168.00
£168.00

1983 Karuizawa 31YO Cask#3557 Charity Release 59.1%

93.0

1983 Karuizawa 31YO Cask#3557 Charity Release 59.1%

93.0
£13,125.00
Duty Paid £13,125.00

1984 Karuizawa Artifices 013 Sherry Cask 5410 30YO

1984 Karuizawa Artifices 013 Sherry Cask 5410 30YO

£3,938.00
£3,938.00

1985 Karuizawa Artifices W.Khong 003 Sherry Cask 2364 30YO 55.2%

1985 Karuizawa Artifices W.Khong 003 Sherry Cask 2364 30YO 55.2%

£3,938.00
£3,938.00

1978 Karuizawa Bourbon Cask 8383 63% Karuizawa

1978 Karuizawa Bourbon Cask 8383 63% Karuizawa

£3,448.00
Duty Paid £3,448.00

1981 Karuizawa Cocktail Serie Cask #162 55.8%

1981 Karuizawa Cocktail Serie Cask #162 55.8%

£3,545.00
£3,545.00

1982 Karuizawa Cocktail Serie Cask #8444 55.6%

1982 Karuizawa Cocktail Serie Cask #8444 55.6%

£3,648.00
£3,648.00

1984 Karuizawa Cocktail Series Cask #7975 62.3%

1984 Karuizawa Cocktail Series Cask #7975 62.3%

£3,450.00
£3,450.00

1983 Karuizawa Cocktail Series Cask #8597 62.1%

1983 Karuizawa Cocktail Series Cask #8597 62.1%

£3,637.00
£3,637.00

1999 Karuizawa Geisha cask 2332 58.5% Karuizawa

1999 Karuizawa Geisha cask 2332 58.5% Karuizawa

£2,398.00
Duty Paid £2,398.00

2000 Karuizawa Geisha cask 7721 59% Karuizawa

2000 Karuizawa Geisha cask 7721 59% Karuizawa

£2,398.00
Duty Paid £2,398.00

1999 Karuizawa Geisha cask 895 58.6% Karuizawa

1999 Karuizawa Geisha cask 895 58.6% Karuizawa

£2,398.00
Duty Paid £2,398.00

1994 Karuizawa Noh Sherry Cask #6149 21 YO (2016) 63.6%

1994 Karuizawa Noh Sherry Cask #6149 21 YO (2016) 63.6%

£2,827.00
Duty Paid £2,827.00

1984 Karuizawa Sherry Cask #4021, 64.5% Karuizawa

1984 Karuizawa Sherry Cask #4021, 64.5% Karuizawa

£3,465.00
Duty Paid £3,465.00

1981 Karuizawa Sherry Cask 4943 63.4%

1981 Karuizawa Sherry Cask 4943 63.4%

£3,950.00
Duty Paid £3,950.00

1981 Karuizawa Sherry Cask 6056 60.3%

1981 Karuizawa Sherry Cask 6056 60.3%

£3,735.00
Duty Paid £3,735.00

2000 Karuizawa Tokyo Bar Show Cask 7603 62.4% Karuizawa

2000 Karuizawa Tokyo Bar Show Cask 7603 62.4% Karuizawa

£1,313.00
Duty Paid £1,313.00

N.V. Karuizawa x Kawasaki Ghost Series #7 Time Slip 43% Karuizawa

N.V. Karuizawa x Kawasaki Ghost Series #7 Time Slip 43% Karuizawa

£3,358.00
Duty Paid £3,358.00

N.V. Karuizawa, Noh, Multi-Vintage, 59.1%

N.V. Karuizawa, Noh, Multi-Vintage, 59.1%

£3,941.00
£3,941.00

N.V. Miyagikyo 10 YO Single Malt (45%)

N.V. Miyagikyo 10 YO Single Malt (45%)

£136.00
£136.00

N.V. Miyagikyo Single Malt 45%

N.V. Miyagikyo Single Malt 45%

£53.00
£53.00

1995 Nikka, Coffey Grain Cask, 112051, 64%

1995 Nikka, Coffey Grain Cask, 112051, 64%

£851.00
£851.00

1995 Nikka, Coffey Grain Cask, 112093, 63%

1995 Nikka, Coffey Grain Cask, 112093, 63%

£851.00
£851.00

1995 Nikka, Coffey Grain Cask, 131524, 63%

1995 Nikka, Coffey Grain Cask, 131524, 63%

£851.00
£851.00

1999 Nikka, Coffey Grain Cask, 209719, 63%

1999 Nikka, Coffey Grain Cask, 209719, 63%

£622.00
£622.00

N.V. Taketsuru 17 YO (no box) 43%

N.V. Taketsuru 17 YO (no box) 43%

£164.00
£164.00

N.V. The Japanese Whisky Advent Calendar, 43.1%

N.V. The Japanese Whisky Advent Calendar, 43.1%

£153.00
Duty Paid £157.00

N.V. The Nikka 12YO 43%

N.V. The Nikka 12YO 43%

£71.00
£71.00

N.V. Yamazaki 12 Year Old 43%

90.0

N.V. Yamazaki 12 Year Old 43%

90.0
£123.00
Duty Paid £725.00

N.V. Yamazaki 18 YO

96.0

N.V. Yamazaki 18 YO

96.0
£448.00
£448.00

N.V. Yamazaki 25 Year Old 43%

N.V. Yamazaki 25 Year Old 43%

£3,080.00
£3,080.00

2012 Yamazaki Mizunara 2012 48%

2012 Yamazaki Mizunara 2012 48%

£1,722.00
£1,722.00

N.V. Yoichi Single Malt 45%

N.V. Yoichi Single Malt 45%

£53.00
£53.00

Is there anything else you’re looking for? Please email us if you can't find it listed and we will endeavour to source it for you.