Japanese Whisky – Not much happening at the moment……

Hi all,
There seemed to be a bit of a flurry earlier on this year in regards to new releases of Japanese Whisky. Probably had something to do with TIBS/Whisky Live Tokyo being held in April. Sure there has been some Karuizawa, but nothing new in that. Well except for the prices going up as fast as an rocket on the resale market once the initial offer has sold out. There is a couple of not particularly inspiring bottling’s coming up as per Whiskiesrus latest posts.
Let’s hope there is something juicy in the pipeline from any or all of the Japanese distilleries before years end. Rumors have included new stuff from Chichibu and Mars Shinshu.
On a personal front I have managed pick up some rare Kirin bottling’s over the last couple of months. Not only are some of these Kirin very good whisky, but relative bargains considering how few there are for sale.

9 thoughts on “Japanese Whisky – Not much happening at the moment……

  1. From what I know Brian there will not be a lot going on throughout the rest of the year. Of course there may be a few things I don’t know about, and I hope there is, but the remaing 3 months of the year look bland. There is I believe, which I know you already presumed, and many who have tasted guessed, two (possible) new expressions from Saitama. I don’t need to go into things like Hibiki’s Mellow Harmony, but I can say it appears there will be no Mizunara 2013 Yama coming out. But hey, I’m just a person who really enjoys the domestic dram – certainly not one with credentials therefore, there may be a flourish of expressions ready for Christmas (not including labels with pictures of a comic fictional character that is). Enjoy those Kirin, Brian. Thanks for the plug.

    • We are probably going to see less and less Clint as stocks of Hanyu and Karuizawa dry up. Yes, time is running out for the annual release of Yamazaki’s is general, Mizunara, Sherry, Bourbon and Puncheon. Stock issues?

  2. If there isn’t much happening, it’s probably a good thing for me, as I need to pull my head in for a while – otherwise my wife will kill me!
    Meanwhile I have retasted the Miyagikyo single cask release from earlier this year.
    What a sumptuous, scrumptious sherry cask! Just lovely!
    It (& the Iwai WCF) will have to see me through to release season next year.
    How were the tequilas Brian?

    • Hi Alan,
      Yes it is good to rein in the spending every now and again and sometimes it is easier to be forced to by circumstance.
      Bought a couple of cracking tequilas, one the equal of a fine brandy. I can only say both are top shelf spirits and worthy of a place in the liquor cabinet amongst all the whisky.

    • Intetesting Aaron. Very true and yes it appears that is the case. Although not a Mizunara cask a prime example is that of the Hibiki follow up (mellow harmony). The blend contains 30yo Yama and Chita casks. It makes sense economically (or does it?) not to bottle say a single mizunara cask (or even vat a few) however, there is the issue of disappointment – some have said “why start something (a yearly release) and not be able to follow through or continue”? But perhaps they are just a little too radical with notion of either needing or wanting consecutive years of one expression. Anyway perhaps I’m drifting a bit from the point. Back to my original comment it seems like its safe to say there are two Chichibu’s locked in with the third sooner than we think. Word on the street though as mentioned there will be nothing sporting fictional comic characters on labels this year – again I may be completely wrong – and hope so as it would be a great way to finish of the year.

    • I’m with you on this Alan. I have recently realized that I really need to distinguish my “wants” from my “needs” – of that is applicable to whisky? … I think it is. I’ve learnt to say “no” to many things but it’s getter harder to do so with so many “one run bottling expressions”. So… If there isn’t that much going on it is welcoming as it makes spending habits so much easier. It’s hard thought hey !

  3. I was luckily to have spoken with someone from Suntory earlier, from what I heard, they are very reluctant to release Mizunara as 1 cask of Mizunara can be used to blend several thousand of bottles of Hibiki 21 & 30. And as you know, Suntory is running out of old casks (especially Mizunara) so they want to save these casks for their profit making Hibiki in the future.

    Not sure how accurate this info is. We’ll just have to wait and see.

    • Thanks for the follow up Aaron. All makes sense, but also makes the scene for new releases a little bit boring. I do like Hibiki 21 a lot though. The 30……well overpriced in my opinion.

  4. Hi there, just to mention a topic about japanese whisky that may have been overlooked from over there, in Japan.

    “Not much happening at the moment…” : i read this just as 6 (!) new Karuizawa bottlings went out here in France 10 days ago (2 vintage, 4 single casks of a new collection for LMDW – but i dont know the name of this collection). Thus i thought: well, there is still quite a lot happening right now with Japanese whisky, though maybe far away from Japan.

    It seems the year 2013 has been very rich in Karuizawa bottlings… outside of Japan (as usual it seems?). There have been lately (i think) 2 Noh in the USA arriving now, 1 Noh for Belgium during summer, 2 Noh for Norway/Sweden last month, 3 Noh and a dragon label for France before the summer…

    I imagine it is difficult to follow the whole Karuizawa craziness, but it might be an interesting topic for you to explore: there has never been as many Karui bottlings right now, whereas the casks are supposedly almost out. Commercial strategy as prices are high? Necessity to bottle whiskies that reach their climax in terms of maturity? Spreading distribution to satisfy the maximum number of countries?

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