Japanese Whisky has, is, and will, most likely, continue to boom in the coming years. Here are some of the bottles responsible for pushing the growth and excitement surrounding the category in recent years.
1. Yamazaki Mizunara 2017
1,500 bottles of were first distributed in Japan via a lottery held by Suntory, then in the West, before the bottles reached the secondary market and skyrocketed in price.
Few expressions showcase the essence of Japanese mizunara oak, like this one does. Coconut cake, tropical fruit, and a rich depth of oak and spice.
2. Hibiki 30
Of the series the Hibiki 21 and 30 are the most globally renowned, with the Hibiki 30 Year-Old offering immeasurable depth, often seen as a collectible.
Comprising of vintages no younger than 30 years old, expect a deep, balanced sweetness, led by oak, oranges, sponge cake, and sweet spices. The 30 shone most at the International Spirits Challenge, winning the “Trophy” award in 2004, 2006, and 2008.
3. Yoichi 20 Year-Old
The bottle is a masterpiece fully showcasing what Masataka Taketsuru, known as the father of Japanese Whisky, set out to achieve when he founded the distillery. A Whisky from Japan, influenced by Scotland’s traditions.
This peated, smoky dram, is reminiscent of Islay, but features unique notes of juicy fruit and dark chocolate. Big, intense, and powerful. Sadly, the Yoichi Aged Range was discontinued a few years back, but word has it they may return for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, when Yoichi stock is replenished.
4. Chichibu Matsuri 2017
Their bottling for the annual Chichibu festival last year was named the World’s Best Single Cask Single Malt at the 2017 World Whiskies Awards.
The win was huge for the distillery, as they won over some of the biggest Whisky makers in the world.
As expected the bottle is now hard to find and rather pricy if you do come by it. If you ever get the chance, be sure to taste it. Look for notes of decadent molasses, sherry, and spicy citrus.
5. Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2013
As expected, the bottling quickly rose in price, and is now one of the most coveted expressions out there. Plums, figs, dark chocolate, and abundant spice all bring about phenomenal balance and depth.
6. Coloured & Monochrome Joker - Hanyu Playing Cards
The series came about when Ichiro Akuto, owner of the aforementioned Chichibu distillery, bottled the remaining Whisky from his family’s shut-down distillery, Hanyu. The labels, bottles, art, and lost Whisky, all make the Playing Card series a goal for ardent collectors the world over.
7. Karuizawa 1963 Single Cask 50 Year Old
After all, it’s Whisky never to be made again. The distillery site can’t even be visited, as it was completely dismantled and shut down in 2012.
8. Karuizawa 1960 The Archer
This until, the news below came about.
9. Yamazaki 50 Year-Old (2005 & 2011 Edition)
First in 2016, the 2005 edition sold for a staggering $129,000. Then, just recently, on January 27th 2018, the 2011 edition sold for almost $300,000, a number that blew all other sales out of the water. Distilled soon after the end of WWII, this is a piece of Japanese history and a legend in the global Whisky world.