Buying Japanese Whisky In Japan – Nothing But Scorched Earth!

LH.jpgWe’ll consider this as a bit of a follow up to my post Japanese Whisky “Where To From Here”. So, first time back in Tokyo in a couple of years starting last Friday night(we were in Osaka about 18 months ago) and on the following day I hit the ground running as soon as the stores opened at 10am. Now I’m not going to tell you I went to every store I could possibly find in Tokyo. If you’ve been to Tokyo you know that would be logistically tougher than a manned mission to Mars. The places I did go to however, were, and you’ll see very soon why I write “were” very reliable sources to buy Japanese whisky.
So with my trusty notebook in hand I started at Takashimaya Shinjuku. I’ll keep it straight forward and list what I found at each place. Hibiki Harmony NAS, The Nikka Blended Whisky 12YO, Hibiki 12 and 17 mini bottles and Yamazaki 12 mini bottles………..Yep that was it!. But wait there’s more(to the story). When I went back a couple of days later The Nikka Blended Whisky 12YO and the Hibiki 17 and Yamazaki Mini bottles were all sold. Quickly checked on our last day and that status quo remained. I certainly didn’t get writers cramp from listing those.
Next over to Isetan Shinjuku and mind you the last time I was there we are talking about single cask Yamazaki and Hakushu, Hanyu, Karuizawa, Chichibu, the standard single malt ranges and more. This time, Mars Blended Whisky 46%, Nikka Coffey Malt and Coffey Grain NAS, Suntory Kakubin and Suntory Premium Blends, Hakushu 12, Kirin 18, Hibiki Harmony NAS and the one for the Billionaires, Nikka 40YO. Phew, at this rate I’ll definitely be done with my research by lunch time.
Shinanoya Shinjuku/Kabukicho – A bit more range not but nothing really special. Nikka Pure Malt NAS, Kirin 18 YO, Hibiki Harmony, Mars Iwai Tradition, Mars Twin Alps, Mars 3 & 7, Kirin 50% NAS, Suntory White, Black and Yellow(Kakubin) blends, Nikka Super, Nikka Black Clear, Nikka All Malt, Nikka HiHi and Nikka Gold & Gold Blends, Suntory Royal NAS, Suntory Old(not really old) and Suntory Special reserve NAS, Ichiro’s Malt Double Distilleries 200ml, Nikka Malt 100, Hakushu and Yamazaki Distillers Reserve, Miyagikyo Date and Kirin Robert Brown Deluxe Blend. Ah, for the good old days when Ichiro’s Malt the Game 1st Edition sat on these very shelves for a year at about 7000 yen.
I’m not sure of the name of the next store or the name of the building but it is on level 3 of the building next corner past the BIC Camera in the Odayku Department store Shinjuku. I was there on a different day and I didn’t have my note book, can’t remember any single malts but they did have Hibiki 12 and 17 YO. WooHoo!
The Bic Camera on the East Side of Shinjuku Station heading towards Isetan had about 4 bottles, I think the highlight was the very rare Yamazaki 12. I would say that was sarcasm but in Japan Yamazaki 12 is hard to come by in stores.
The best of the lot would have been Liquors Hasegawa at Tokyo Station. There are 2 branches at the station and I’m speaking about the Main Branch. This was the only store that had 3 single Malts, Yamazaki 12, Yoichi 10 and Kirin 18YO. They also had Hibiki 12 and 17YO. The Nikka Blend 12YO and Malt 100. The only store that had some Akashi as well. The picture attached is from Liquors Hasegawa so you get the idea. Unfortunately you can’t see the Yoichi 10 as it’s on the shelf below the bottom of the picture. All up I’d say about 25 different Japanese whisky but again, I remember Karuizawa Single Cask Japanese release sitting on these shelves gathering dust and some selling for under 10,000 yen.
Last though not quite least, Takashimaya taking that unenviable prize, Tokyo Narita Airport. Now Narita always had a pretty soft offer of any whisky from any region. There is a new terminal, terminal 3 and this is the one I’m talking about specifically though I doubt the others are any better. I’ll start with Nikka, they sell Taketsuru 17, 21 and 25, all sold out. Then there is Suntory’s “Travel Exclusives” basically the same contents with a flash label. So, instead of paying 18000 yen or so for Yamazaki 18, drum roll please, you get to pay 50000 yen for the fancy label! Hibiki 21 is the same price and there are about half a dozen bottling’s with same sort of mark up. Rich gullible tourists step right up!
I’m sure many readers would have seen those Nat Geo documentaries about the army ants in Central and South America, the ones that file through the jungle on mass leaving nothing but desolation and destruction in their wake. Well the human version has been to Japan and left the same sort of desolation in regards to Japanese whisky. There is no doubt that the Japanese have finally caught on to the fact that they can make high quality whisky and are buying more than ever. Taiwan is also a very strong market and I’m sure many a Taiwanese whisky enthusiast has made their way to Tokyo on a buying spree, but I will tell you a story told to me by Horigami san the owner of Zoetrope Bar in Shinjuku. Now this is a guy how has done more than most to promote Japanese Whiskey and his Bar is still by far the best place in Japan to try a huge variety of rare Japanese whisky. There was a new Chichibu being released at Isetan Department Store Shinjuku. Horigami san waited at the doors to go and buy some but by the time he got downstairs to the liquor department Chinese Customers had managed to get in through another entrance and bought every bottle. Horigami san also mentioned the Bonham’s rare whisky auctions run out of Hong Kong. Now I’ve seen the prices for Japanese whisky at these auctions and they are astronomical. Not just single cask stuff, but I’ve seen bottles you can, or more to the point could, have bought in Japan for 10-20 bucks sell for hundreds. I was told by a Hong Kong based Japanese Whiskey enthusiast a couple of years back that it was folks from mainland China who come over to HK all cashed up and for the most part without a clue as to what they are buying who are paying these big bucks. So, why not a quick flight over to Japan and strip the shelves and the distilleries clean knowing you can make a handy profit? This is a theme you will read about in many another blog post so I’m sure there is a lot of merit to it.
So what now? Well as a point of fact there is no point for any foreigner to come to Japan in search of Japanese whisky. You will in many countries almost certainly find a better offering at home and if not, one of the online retailers. You can still find some bars that have a good range of stuff to try but don’t come just to buy. Hey, if you’re a Scottish whisky fan, or a Bourbon fan, or even Rum or Tequila(I’ve seem stuff in Japan I haven’t even read about on Tequila.net), by all means bring some spending money. The Japanese get their own exclusive bottlings as well.
I will add that it makes perfect sense that companies like Nikka and Suntory will send a lot of their premium bottlings to overseas markets. Sure they were caught out by not reading how popular they would be and distilling enough product years ago, but now the hook is in you wouldn’t just pull back out of those markets and say we’ll get back to you in 5 years or so. You have to be able to keep supplying these markets until there is more mature stock, even if the domestic market has to suffer a little. I mention 5 years because again when talking to Horigami san of Zoetrope bar, this was the number of years ago he said the distilleries decided they better get a production wriggle on. So, it’s going to take a number of years but we should see plenty of Japanese single malts back on the shelves in Japan down the track as well as the return of single casks from the big players and older stock from Chichibu and Mars. One benefit of the drought is players like Mars, Chichibu and Akashi have a lot more confidence about producing whiskey and knowing there will be a ready market, eager and willing to buy and that’s got to be a good thing.

79 thoughts on “Buying Japanese Whisky In Japan – Nothing But Scorched Earth!

  1. This is so sad……any idea if this is the same at the distilleries? Going to yamazaki next month
    Now i know i have to buy the Taketsuru 21 in taiwan….

    • Hi Michael,
      Even though some other readers have had a different experience back in the day there was never anything more than standard offerings when I’ve been to Yamazaki. This was never a problem before as I could get the more interesting stuff elsewhere. Last time I went to Yamazaki(December) they still had some cool stuff to try at the bar. Should not stop you from going as Yamazaki is a quaint little town and Yamazaki is Japans oldest commercial whisky distillery. White Oak(Akashi) did have a license to distill whisky before this, but did not start production before Yamazaki. Yes by all means buy Taketsuru 21 in Taiwan and please check out Whiskies R Us for bars to try Japanese whiskey in that part of Japan.

  2. As a personal response I think I will simply reiterate and re-quote a passage from your post, Brian: “there is no point for any foreigner to come to Japan in search of Japanese whisky. You will in many countries almost certainly find a better offering at home and if not, one of the online retailers”. Even seasoned purchasers here, including myself, regardless of background, are finding it extremely hard to get something decent. As a substitute for the lack of availability many, again, including myself, have had to dive into their stash to thirst the quench. If it is any consolation Osaka is not any better than Tokyo in terms of availability. I believe it was you who said: “Japanese whisky a victim of its own success”. Things will change a little bit down the track with new substitutes, but as sad as it is to say many things will no longer be available or be re-produced as the industry moves forward. I’m glad I jumped on the Japanese Whisky ban wagon many years ago opposed to doing so today, back then an array of unbelievable choice, today, it is pretty straight forward with the exception of, in my opinion, Chichibu and Mars’ new age single malts. I guess however it was inevitable really if you take into account everything – media, awards, the ridiculous premium prices cashed up punters pay, speculators, hype, countless limited editions, the fact there is no cask trading between distilleries, quality, extravagance, new era, the list goes on.

    • Thanks Clint, your reports from on the ground on Whiskies R Us and comments here are always of great value. At least we’ve been able to share some great drams together : )
      Brian

        • Nothing wrong with that Clint. I’ve tried to make Highballs with Scotch and we realized on this last trip they only really work with Japanese whisky and Japanese soda water : )

  3. Hey Brian, many thanks for this insightful (and rather depressing) post. But I guess there is no beating about the bush, and Clint confirmed this too: Japan has lost in attractivity as a whisky shopping destination and it does indeed look like the selection abroad is more interesting and better nowadays. Just looking at what La Maison du Whisky in Paris has to offer will confirm that. Well, we got our shortages too, though: no Yamazaki 18yo in more than 6 months, the last bottles of Yamazaki 12yo disappearing, Yoichi 20yo getting rarer and rarer, and I now speak just for Switzerland. Tough times!

  4. I too was in Japan recently, two times in March. The first trip was specifically to shop, which ultimately turned into a ski & tourist trip too (my wife insisted 😉 ). The second trip was strictly business. First, there must have been a very recent run at the duty free, as when I was at both Narita and Haneda, there were shelves full of Hibiki 17 & 21, Yamazaki 18, but strangely, very little Hakushu 18. The regular bottles. As for the rest of the country (and I was certainly much further afield than just Tokyo), I was able to secure Yamazaki Limited Edition 2015 (a bunch actually), Mars American & Sherry Oak (ditto), Chita Grain, a Hanyu blend (a department store bottling), Nikka 25 (at a random grocery store no less) and finally two bottles of a real gem: Yamazaki Mizunara Oak 2014. I saw a Nikka 40, but at six grand, it wasn’t in the cards. Sorry, I guess this is turning into a #humblebrag. A visit to the Yamazaki distillery was the height of disappointment. Even though I picked up the above bottles, I was still generally disappointed with the pickings. And between your post and another blogger’s, it looks like Japan got sucked dry this spring. Very disappointing.

    • Sorry, meant Limited Edition 2014. I also understand Nikka is pretty good about still having distillery only bottlings.

      • From what I’ve heard from a couple of sources if you go to Yoichi or Miyagikyo to by distillery only single cask bottling’s you will leave empty handed as they’ve been “raided” also. I was going to go there for these bottling’s myself but was dissuaded by people I trust as a waste of time.

        • Visited Miyagikyo at the tail end of September (2015), and…

          -1980’s vintage release was sold out 🙁
          -1990’s vintage release was still available in 180ml bottles for ~6500
          -2000’s release was still available in 500ml bottles for ~6500
          -12 year old Sherry & Sweet and Malty & Soft were still available in 500ml bottles for ~6500
          -12 year old Fruity & Rich and Single Grain release were sold out, but still available for tasting.
          -They also had the full compliment of currently produced releases, with the exception of Taketsuru age statement releases.

          Based on the huge influx of 12 year old Sherry & Sweet I saw hit Yahoo auctions within the last week, I have to wonder if it was actually just restocked at the distillery. I have a hard time imagining that it would have outlasted Fruity & Rich, especially at the auction prices it was being sold for prior to the influx.

          On the pay-for-tasting side, in addition to what’s listed above, they still had Miyagikyo 10/12/15, as well as the Miyagikyo Sherry Cast and Yoichi Peated limited edition releases.

          • Thanks Nick,
            Do you remember the prices for the Miya and Yoichi sherry and HP limited releases considering they are going for about Y60,000 each on resale. Would be interested in knowing the markup compared to retail.

            Cheers
            Brian

          • The HP and Sherry Cask releases were available for tasting only (500 yen for 15ml). Didn’t see any for sale at liquor stores around Sendai either (in Winter of 2014, I was able to find the port & madeira finish Taketsuru 21 at a local shop long after they were sold out on Rakuten and other stores around Tokyo)…

            The Sherry Cask Miyagikyo was quite different than the 12 year old Sweet & Sherry or 1990’s vintage. Much more on grapes than the other offerings… The Heavily Peated Yoichi didn’t seem to offer a much different experience than the Peaty & Smoky 12 year old they offered at the Yoichi distillery for 6500 (500ml bottle), but I did not have them side by side to compare, and I haven’t cracked my bottle of P & S yet (so it’s been 6 months since I tasted it).

            For those prices, as a whisky drinker, II’d certainly target the 1990s Miyagikyo and 1980’s Yoichi instead.

        • I should also add… Miyagikyo did have some single-cask bottlings available for tasting & sale back in 2014. Those were gone in September 2015.

          In March of 2015, Yoichi had a full compliment of their distillery only releases (vintage & 12 year old key malts), but no single cask bottlings.

          So while it’s true single casks seem to be no longer available, there is at least some availability of distillery only releases bottled at or near cask strength. Unless they plan to keep replenishing stock, though, I can’t imagine it would last for more than a month or two. The traffic at Miyagikyo was pretty wild (it seemed like 30~40 people on tour, every 30 minutes)

    • Hi Nim,
      Glad you got some bottles you were happy with but your still only talking about dribs and drabs and from what you’ve said you were moving around a lot so had more opportunities than most would have. The fact of the matter remains that a couple of years ago you could have walked into one store and left with that sort of stuff and much more. The only really interesting bottles on that list for me would be the Mizunara Oak 2014 and a lot of people could not afford those.
      Cheers
      Brian

  5. Hi there,

    Thanks for that very helpful update. I’m in a bit of shock. You’re saying that Yoichi 20 / 15 are nowhere to be found?

    I was only in Japan 12 months back and I could still find some whiskies in the places you mentioned, as well as some interesting bottlings by Ichiro. And DFS in both Narita and Kansai were quite well stocked – well they ran out of Yamazaki 25 and Hibiki 30 but had pretty much all the other OB.

    Shaun

    • Hi Shaun,
      I certainly can’t get them and I know people who live in Japan who can’t. I’m talking strictly about retail stores. There are ways to get them in Japan on the resell market but your paying 3 times the retail price for Yoichi 15 and 5-6 times the price for Yoichi 20.
      Brian

  6. I’m in Japan now, in the southern island of Kyushu, around Fukuoka.
    The Japanese whiskys here are in short supply still, short of the cheap stuff. But I found a few items. I picked up a couple of Hibki 17’s at a good price (Tax free) at a department store. At a couple of better liquor shops I got “Mars several bottles of Komagatake The Revival 2011”, found an Ichiro’s Malt MWR, and a White Oak Akashi in a supermarket (nowhere else) dirt cheap. Surprisingly I lucked out today and found a Yamazaki Limited Edition 2015 at a local liquor shop way out in to boonies of a farming area. I also saw a Kirin 18, but it didn’t interest me, both from reviews and pricing, although I’m told that it’s being discontinued, so it may become a rare collectable.

    You can still find Yamazaki 12 & Hyakshu 12, around if you look hard enough, but nothing older. Nikka “The Malt” 17’s are in good supply, if you like blended. But everything else is completely gone. Most liquor store owners and department store people I talked to say the Chinese are coming here in droves and cleaning them out of higher end Japanese Whisky. It’s a short flight to Fukuoka from Shanghai, and there are some cheap discount airlines that fly into the region. From what I hear they’re buying it not to keep, or enjoy, but mostly for the resale value.

    • Thanks for the report. Glad you’ve got something for yourself. I have bottles of both the Yama 2014 and 2015 open and even though the 2014 is a very nice whisky I think 2015 is even better. I personally think the Kirin 18YO is an excellent whisky with it’s own special character.

      • Well I was lucky enough to pick up a Yamazaki Limited 2014, back in October, two actually, but I gave one to a client as a Christmas gift. I always regretted not grabbing more. Well today I rectified that when I saw them putting out 6 bottles of the 2015 limited edition at the Daimaru Department Store liquor shop. I grabbed 3 of them (tax free). Making my total of 4 I’m bringing home.
        I’m off to Tokyo next week, but I’m guessing slim pickings there.

        • So I got to Tokyo and been searching around for anything good, sadly it’s been pretty meager with a couple of surprises. All the department stores I went to in Shinjuku, Tokyo station and Shibuya were bone dry with the cheap stuff or their own private label version which are tiny 300 ml and overpriced. takashimaya had the 20 year blended Sunshine a product of Toyama distillery, which is not known for whisky, but sake. It was $45 for a 300 ml, bottle and 100 for the 700 ml. All the stores were pushing a new blended fromantic Mars distillery, Maltage Cosmo for about $35.not sure how it is, but I didn’t pick it up.
          The most disappointing place I visited was by no doubt Hasegawa liquors, in the Tokyo station underground shopping mall. It did notdisappoint for its selection, it had lots of Yamazaki & Hakushu 12, even higher end stuff like Hibiki 21 and 30, and a Yamazaki Puncheon. What made it disappointing was it’s prices. Now I had been in the southern part of Japan for 10 days and while things were difficult, there were some rewards if you looked around often enough. You can read about it in my previous 2 posts. But when I got to Hasegawa the prices, compared to the Japanese whisky I saw or bought in Kyushu, was 30% higher. Even items in reasonable supply, like Yama and Haku 12 or the NAS versions were much higher than the department stores and liquor stores in Fukuoka. And the high end stuff was really overpriced compared to what you can buy online. Yamazaki Puncheon was $600, the Hibiki 30 was close to $4,000. It’s like the store had jacked up prices in expectation of high demand. While expected, I think their greed is getting the best of them. None of their items are tax free. Also the staff was unfriendly, and I speak Japanese, so it wasn’t a lost in translation moment. That said I did buy a bottle of Akashi single malt Nas for about $25.
          The best surprise was finding a Yamazaki 18 at Bic Camera in Shibuya for about $180. It had just come in today and was the only one they got in a month.

          Heading to Narita later this week. Will let you know if I find anything good.

          • Thanks for the your latest report. I am very surprised by you experience with Hasegawa. Which store did you visit as there are 2 at Tokyo station run by different people. I have never had an experience with the Hasegawa I buy from in regards to jacked up prices on anything I have bought and I personally have a very good relationship with the owner/manager and I don’t speak Japanese. In fact the prices have been competitive or better and I never have never had to pay the local tax. Looking at the website for the store I shop at the prices look standard to me. https://translate.google.com.au/translate?hl=en&sl=ja&u=http://www.liquors-hasegawa.com/&prev=search. Wasn’t any Hibiki 21 or 30 or Yama Puncheon when I was there either, and they only had either the Yama 12 of Hak 12 in stock not both.
            I’ll be interested if you find anything at Narita, Suntory stuff is put in a flash bottle as “airport exclusives” and charged double the price or more than retail and there was not a single bottle of Nikka stuff you could buy when I was there in May.

  7. Here’s my report from Narita Terminal #1.

    Bone dry, except for the overpriced travel editions of Yamazaki and Hibiki and the cheap Suntory/Nikka brands.

    Yamazaki 18 (purchased at Bic Camera) = 24,000 Yen (no tax)
    Yamazaki 18 Travel edition(at Narita Airport Duty Free) = 50,000 Yen

    Hakushu 18 Travel edition (at Narita Airport Duty Free) = 50,000 Yen

    Hibiki 17 (purchased at Mitsukoshi) = 12,500 yen (no tax)
    Hibiki 17 Travel edition (at Narita Airport Duty Free) = 40,000 Yen
    Hibiki 30 Travel edition (at Narita Airport Duty Free) = 500,000 Yen

    If you had an ANA credit card, and you went to the ANA Duty free Gift shop, which is all the way inside the terminal 1 past security and customs (near gate 40), you can get an 10% off your purchases.

    Very depressing.

    In the Terminal 1 shopping center before security and check in, there wasn’t anyone selling any high-end whisky at all. Just the cheap stuff in the souvenir shops.

    There used to be a liquor shop in Terminal 1, before check in, on the 5th floor, between the South and North wings, right next to a Lawson convenience store. They had a really nice collection of high-end world-wide spirits, including some Japanese whiskys. But they seem to be gone now, as it looks like the Lawson convenience store expanded and took over their space.

    So my advice to anyone is don’t count on the Narita Duty free shops anymore to get any worthwhile Japanese whisky, especially at a reasonable price. Find it in Tokyo, or other parts of Japan.

  8. This is a really good article – sums up the (very depressing) situation nicely. I will make two points though that I don’t think have been made yet above:

    – Japan is still a GREAT place to buy whisky…just not Japanese whisky! The range of rare / unique / interesting whisky from Scotland, Ireland, Canada, USA is fantastic, at bottle shops all over Tokyo. I find you do have to shop around, because Shop A will be cheap for product Y, and expensive for product X, and Shop B will be the opposite, but you can find some great bargains, and some whiskies that you just don’t see anywhere else. I’m here on a trip at the moment and thinking of picking up a Burnside (amongst a few others)….because how often do you see a Burnside randomly sitting on a bottle shop shelf!?

    – While the glory days of $100 ‘zawa’s and easy to find single cask Hanyu’s are over…and even age statement regular releases are being discontinued or becoming harder to find….at least the readily available NAS releases are 1) cheap and 2) very good. Suntory’s especially – the “Distiller’s Reserve” Yama and Hakushu are both excellent, excellent drams, and the new NAS “Japanese Harmony” Hibiki ain’t bad either.

    Still…I long for the good old days!

    Cheers,
    Martin (www.TimeforWhisky.com)

    • Hi Martin,
      In regards to your first point. The name of the blog is The Japanese Whisky Review. I would say that is fairly, no absolutely succinct.
      The readers of my blog are clever enough to know if they wish to know about whiskies that are not Japanese that may be or may be not available in Japan, they can view this on other general whisky blogs.
      In regards to your second point, folks do not contact be about buying NAS Japanese bottling’s when in Japan. They want to know where to buy the rare stuff. Even here in Australia we can buy Yama and Hak 12, the same in Distiller’s reserve bottling’s, Hibiki NAS, 12 and 17 bottling’s, Suntory Kaku Premium, Takesturu 12, and Nikka From the Barrel. Other standard bottling’s are easily sourced from online website’s in the UK/Europe and Japan depending on the country you would like to have them shipped to.
      I would also say in the aforementioned post there was a photo from Liquors Hasegawa that illustrated about 25 different bottling’s available.
      Kind regards
      Brian

  9. Nice article and on the “money”!

    I have being drinking Japanese whiskeys for about 16 years.

    Until 2 years ago I often brought them to clients and China, Korea and elsewhere..only for teh clients to be shocked as to how good they were.

    Unfortunately Yamazaki won the #1 in Whiskey spectulator and suddenly…the Chinese and pretty much everyone else poured in.

    Within 1 week of winning the Whiskey award , only, yes ONLY Yoicho 10 to 21 years was available in any Duty Free..at original prices still. Sensing this bargain..I grabbed 3 bottles of 5 left on the shelf. Since then 18 yr old Yamazaki and 18 yr Hakushu have reappearred only a week ago..now at an outrageous JPY 50,000 a bottle and with a new label saying special limited edition.

    Its exactly same stuff sold in previous bottles for around JPY13,000 to JPY 16,000 a bottle before. I was lucky enough to taste some and it is exactly the same. While a Narita 3 days ago..I saw a Hong Kong guy..a tall chap at 6ft high and dressed smart casual, but all the brand names.. He was a foolish 40’s guy with not much experience from the way he spoke and tasted.

    He paused and tasted the whiskeys..it was clear he had little experience past Johnny Walker 12yr old black either. However he brought 2 bottles at JPY 50,000 each. Just goes to show a mug is out there everyday..guys like that wreck it for us all! Nobody should buy it at that price as much better options from other scottish or other makers are available at half that price..even in Narita Duty free!

    Ironically I now find I can only buy fair priced Japanese Whiskey only in one place..Yes, serious..Its in Beijing and Shanghai in the supermarkets of big department stores.. about 50% more than old original Japanese prices..and the real deal..not a knock off. I am not sure how long it will last..it seems it is old stock, sitting in stock rooms for a while..but its good..I have acquired 15 bottles this way..much to pleasure of old Japanese clients whom very much are happy, even though the label is also in Chinese!

    • Hi David,
      Thanks for sharing your personal experiences in regards to buying Japanese whisky. At least your able to get some at supermarkets not just on resale at 3-4 times the price!
      Cheers
      Brian

    • Just curious, where in Shanghai did you find any good deals, or good items in stock? I’m visiting in about 10 days, before and after I visit Japan. I usually find the prices for all alcohol way above the norm, but that’s just China and the cost of imports.

      I usually visit places like City Shop in the Ritz Carlton complex, or the City Super in the IAPM mall. Most of the wine shops in Shanghai don’t carry much in terms of whisky, let alone Japanese whisky.

  10. From Taiwan: Most Japanese age dated whiskeys are off the shelf, or flying. Retail prices doubled and tripled the moment Nikka released the fact of their NAS intentions. Q–will the age dated J-whiskeys retain their exorbitant auction/retail values that were purchased in 2015 or before, including the Yamazaki LE 2014 and 15? I assume when they start up production in 5 years labels will have changed. Are the current 10,12,15,17,18, etc. year old bottles marked with Bar codes, etc. that delineate their dates of bottling, etc?

    Thanks for the insight

    • Hi Mark,
      Not sure how you can ascertain the date of bottling or production. May be some indication in the script on the back label and some front labels can give a rough indication of age as they have changed from time to time in the past.
      Brian

  11. Japan Visit #2

    I’m currently in Tokyo. Decided to do a little whisky shopping over the weekend.

    So far it’s hit and miss. Found some 3 bottles of Ichiro’s Malt Double Distilleries I’ll be bringing back to the US at Shinanoya. I picked up some Taketsuru 17 & 21 (there’s still plenty despite around, despite Nikka’s announcement and price hike). Found a Yamazaki 12, and Hakushu 18 at Bic Camera. But in many places it’s mostly bottom shelf Japanese whisky. Daimaru Dept Store at Tokyo Station was still selling some bottles of the Yamazaki limited 2015 at regular price (already have 4, so I passed). Takashimaya in Shinjuku had pretty much nothing or note, except for the limited run 20 Year Sunshine from Toyama region of Japan (known for Sake brewing). For $100, I picked up to see what it was like.

    The sad thing is that outside of Bic Camera and the Department stores, all of the small liquor shops are either bone-dry, or they have something good and are way overpriced about it. The worst culprit is Liquors Hasegawa in Tokyo station. Had visited them back in August, and they’ve jacked their prices up 10% more since my last visit. People write about them on the internet as the place to buy liquor, and they do have quite an extensive collection, so they’re getting foreign customers. But they’re really taking advantage of them. If you don’t want to look and got a lot of money to spend, it is a one-stop shop. On the other hand they’ve overpriced things that aren’t too hard to find in Japan. For example, they were selling the Yamazaki 2015 limited edition for over $200 US, while you could go to Daimaru (both located in Tokyo Station) at 11th floor whisky corner, and find the same bottle for regular price (Less than $100). Hasegawa is selling the Yamazaki 18 and Hakushu 18 for about $300 ea., while you can still get the Hakushu 18 at Bic Camera (Shinjuku) for closer to $200.

    I found a couple of other mom & pop shops doing the same with the Yamazaki 18’s, but those places only take cash, so bring lots of Yen if you really want to get something and don’t feel like looking around Tokyo for a good deal.

    If you’re looking to try some new items, the Miyagikyo and Yoichi NAS are out everywhere and there’s plenty of stock. There are 50,100, 500 and 700 ml versions to purchase. Suntory’s The Chita, is available at most shops and supermarkets. Haven’t tried it yet, will probably pick up on my return trip back through Japan.

    Will keep you informed of my progress.

  12. Japan Visit #2 (Days 2 & 3)

    Well my later days in Tokyo have been a lot less fruitful. I was able to find a Ichiro’s Malt MWR at one out of the way Liquor shop near Akihabara. But a lot of stores were bone dry with nothing but the cheap stuff. The supermarker-liquor store chains Seijo Ishii and Shinanoya still have decent supplies of the middle end and slightly upper end Whiskies (Taketsuru 17 & 21, Nikka Coffee Grain & Coffee Malt). Bic Camera seems to have the Yamazaki 12 & Hakushu 18 in stores, but nothing else of note.

    On the bright side, I ended my day today by visiting the Zoetrope Bar in Shinjuku. That was a very nice pleasurable visit. I had 4 drinks starting with the Mars-Lucky cat (which was the least favorite of the 4). Then I had the 9 year old Rum Cask Hanyu bottled just for Zoetrope, followed by the Hanyu Queen of Clubs and the Hanyu 8 of Clubs. All of the Hanyu’s were sublime and a rare pleasure to enjoy. If you ever get to Tokyo, Zoetrope is a must go visit for any Japanese whisky fan. I look forward to my next visit there.

  13. Japan Visit #2 (and China). Part 3

    Had a little detour to Shanghai between leaving Tokyo and heading over to Fukuoka. I will say only 1 thing about buying Japanese Whisky in Shanghai, it’s very expensive, whether at a store or in a bar. One shop was selling the Yamazaki & Hakushu 18 for about $640 US each. The 12’s were closer to $250 each. There are many Japanese Whisky bars in Shanghai, a few have some nice collections (Bar Constellation & Ocho), but the price for a shot of Yama 18 will cost you $30 or more. And if you want anything Hanyu they might have, it’s going to be $50 or more.

    Got to Fukuoka yesterday, and sadly noticed that the stores which I visited previously (in August), that had some of the more rarer, or limited edition Japanese Whiskys now were down to the main staples of Taketsuru 17 &21 still in good supply (BTW Fukuoka is much cheaper than Tokyo prices – except in department stores) and Yama & Haku NAS, Hibiki 12 and NAS, along with the new NAS Yoichi, Miyagikyo and Chita. On the other hand I did a couple of interesting items soon to be discontinued from Nikka. The Tsuru 17 (Clear Bottle), which was a bit pricey at about $120 US, but I figured I might as well have it before it’s gone. But I also picked up several bottles of the Nikka Malt 100 Hakata, something you can only buy here in Fukuoka (and soon not even that).

    Will keep you appraised of what else I might find here.

      • Thanks!

        Today I got lucky in Fukuoka! I found a rare item, the Nikka Taketsuru 25. They had one at Daimaru Dept Store (and it wasn’t there 2 days ago, so it just got in, and the only one they had). Still pricey thought at 70,000 yen (no tax – about $560 US). But after kicking myself for hesitating on pulling the trigger on the Yamazaki 25 last year for just $800 at Takashimaya Shinjuku, I felt I couldn’t hesitate this time and grabbed it.

        Also, found another liquor store that was selling the Tsuru 17 for 40% less than I bought the first one, so I picked up 2 more (about $71 US).

        I also got to visit a great Whisky Bar in Fukuoka, “Bar Kitchen”. Very nice selection of world whiskys, particularly Japanese. They have the Hanyu Card series, and many of the limited editions from Mars, Hanyu, Chichibu, Nikka and Suntory. The owner, Oka-san, is a very nice gentleman and speaks a little English. But best of all, the prices for the drinks are much less than Tokyo Bars. Highly recommended!

  14. Japan Trip #2 Part 4.

    I’m in the final days of my stay here in Fukuoka. And there’s one lesson I’ve learned. If at first, the store you went to doesn’t have anything good, try and try again – at the same store!

    It’s true, supplies to both department stores and liquor shops are replenished on an almost daily basis, and one day you can find nothing, the next day you can find something special. Here’s two examples.

    Late last week I went into Daimaru Department Store’s liquor section, in Fukuoka, and found nothing of worth. Then on Sunday, I went back to find a Taketsuru 25 in the display case for sale (their only one). I asked the man in that section and he told me it had only arrived today. Grabbed it before someone else did. Yes, that was a pricey $560, but quite a rare bottle. I haven’t seen another one on the shelf, or anywhere else, since.

    Yesterday and today, the same thing, 2 stores that only had Hibiki 12 and Hibiki Harmony on the shelf a few days ago, but yesterday one store had a 17 (for $80 US) and today another store had a 21 (for $200 US). I grabbed both. Again limited amounts in each store, but if you’re looking for something special this is the best way to find it.

    I even discovered a store in the Nakasu area of Fukuoka selling the Hibiki 30. Unfortunately they wanted $2,500 US, Cash Only, for it, and no Tax-Free discount. Way way overpriced, and even it wasn’t, I don’t carry that much cash on me. This store can sell it at that price because it’s located in the heart of the bar and “party” area of Fukuoka, so you got a lot a wealthy travelers who are carrying a lot of cash to buy something like that.

    I may have one last go tomorrow. But I think my suitcases are at their limit.

    Once I get back home, I’ll put together a final tally of what I got this round in Japan.

  15. Fuji-gotemba distillery was still worth a visit.

    For tasting, they offered the 17 year single malt (much different than the original 18 year release… Lots of licorice and quite similar to the 2014 distiller select release), the 25 year single grain (honestly couldn’t tell the difference between the old 15 year distillery only bottling which was 5000 yen, but i wasn’t tasting side by side and I LOVE the 15 year), and the 2x anniversary pure malt release (still a great bargain for 3000 yen and still available at their web shop).

    On the shelves, they still offered everything above for sale (even though the single malt and grain are sold out online). I was depressed because they no longer had any distillery only single cask bottles for sale… But after specifically asking if they had anything left, they had 2 different 10 year malts for only 5400 yen… But you could only get them by inquiry. I also asked about the 18 year old which has disappeared from stores, and they offered to send a bottle to me (for the regular price) when their next (last?) stock comes in next week. I got the impression that they may still have the 27 year single grain available on inquiry only, but didn’t follow up because I knew what the price would be… The old 15 year and 25 year and anniversary single grains seemed to be gone, but I didn’t press because I still have 5 bottles of the 15 year…

    I guess they’re trying to hold back the discontinued stuff such that people who really want it can have a chance to buy it at the original price.

    They also had some distillery only goods (cool Fuji jockey glass for highballs and wood coasters and chocolates)

    • Thanks for the report. I’ve had a number of Fuji-Gotemba bottling’s that I’ve enjoyed and the 20th Anniversary Pure Malt at around Yen3000 is a cracker of a whisky in my books for the money.

  16. Japan Trip #2 Part 5

    Home now, but my last stop for whisky was Narita Duty Free in Terminal 1.

    Guess what? They’re restocked on most things. Unfortunately it’s all the Duty Free Exclusive Yamazaki & Hakushu, with the pretty bottle, that has the same liquor as the regular bottle, but way overpriced. 50,000 yen ($400) for the Yamazaki & Hakushu 18. They also were selling the airport exculsive Hakushu 25 for 250,000 yen ($2,000 US), the Yamazaki 25 was sold out. They were selling the Hibiki 12, 17, 21 & 30 all in the pretty airport exclusive bottles for nearly twice what you could pay for them in a liquor shop in Japan (assuming you could find the higher aged spirits). This is leading me to believe that Suntory is not close to having a aged whisky shortage, but are limiting supply, to help boost the sales of their overpriced duty free exclusives, which probably make them double the profits of their regular bottles.

    What I did pick up at duty free was a couple of Kirin Fuji Gotemba 18 yr single malts. They were reasonably priced at 14,000 yen (US $112). They also appeared to have plenty of stock of the Taketsuru 17 & 21 (25 was sold out).

    So here’s my final tally of what I brought back from Japan during my trip.
    Taketsuru 25
    Taketsuru 21 x 2
    Taketsuru 17 x 2
    Tsuru 17 x 3
    Nikka Whisky Malt 100 Hakata x 3
    Nikka From the Barrel x 2
    Hakushu 18
    Yamazaki 12 x 2
    Yamazaki 18 x 1
    Yamazaki Limited Edition 2015
    Hibiki 17 x 2
    Hibiki 21 x 2
    Sunshine 20 year (Toyama)
    Ichiro’s Malt: Double Distilleries x 2
    Ichiro’s Malt: MWR x 2
    Ichiro’s Malt & Grain x 2
    Kirin Fuji Gotemba 18 x 2

    A relatively good haul. But it took a lot of searching and repeated searching to find everything.

    BTW: Got to enjoy Ichiro’s Card Series and several Kurizawa bottles at Bar Kitchen in Fukuoka. Which also made this a very enjoyable trip.

    Until

      • Thanks! It was fun hunting for them.
        Oh, I made one mistake on my list. It was the Kirin Fuji Sanroku 18, I picked up in Duty Free, not the Gotemba. Guess once they’re gone, they’re gone.

  17. Hakushu (and Yamazaki, I’m sure) is still worth a visit for tasters. 12 year “component” malts from both Hakushu and Yamazaki, 17 year “component malts” from Hibiki, NAS/12/18/25 year from Hakushu/Yamazaki, NAS/12/17/21/30 from Hibiki, at least one new make, and some really good scottish malts as well (Macallan full range up to 30, some Bowmore including the 25, plus others). The single casks (a Hakushu from the 80s, a Yamazaki from the 90s were on the current menu) were no longer available for tasting, sadly.

    For purchase, the distillery only bottling of Hakushu was no longer available. For someone planning to drink it, it’s not much of a loss – it was available for tasting and much like the recent Yamazaki distillery only bottling, it’s very very similar in profile to the NAS. There were still 180 ML bottles of the Chita single grain 12 year distillery only bottle (~2100 yen). As usual, Suntory has a lot of cool distillery themed goods (tasting/rock/highball/jockey glasses and coasters and other things with the distillery logo, all reasonably priced…)

    • Thanks for the report Nick, shame about the single casks but the component malts I find interesting and personally there was at least a couple I’ve tried I think could be bottled as single malts/single casks. Honestly thought they were wasted on blending : )
      Brian

      • Yeah… I think Kirin is actually doing something really cool right now, by selling blending “sets” with malts & grains of different character, then allowing you to blend it yourself (with some recommendations from the master blenders). Like everything cool Kirin does, it seems to be relegated to their website/distillery shop only, so it’s hard to see it catching on… but I’d love the opportunity to be able to buy Yamazaki 12 as component malts, enjoy them as such… and also be able to blend them.

        Nikka was actually offering the 12 component malts for sale at the distillery only… but the last trip to Miyagikyo (as noted above) saw some of the offerings sold out… and I heard that Yoichi may be low/sold out now (they had everything for sale still in March but…).

  18. Mars was not worth a visit for someone looking to buy. For tasting, they did have a 1989 single cast, the 10 year komagatake, the komagatake cosmo, lucky cat, a couple of different new makes, and an assortment of their cheap blends. For sale, they only had their cheap ~1000 yen blends (plus Iwai “regular”). There’s no guided tour here, but you can at least walk yourself through their warehouse & still room. The biggest issue, I think, is that it’s an awful long ways out in the country/mountains (local trains that come once an hour, taxi required from station to distillery, and a long way from other points of interest).

    • Probably a distillery more for the diehards Nick as somewhere like Hakushu or Yamazaki are probably a better experience for someone interesting in Japanese whisky or just whisky/spirits in general.
      Brian

  19. Well written piece.
    I’ve lived in China for the past 6 or so years and can attest to the obscene volumes of Japanese whisky that Chinese blindly buy. Hence places like Narita DFS are absolutely desolate apart from the usual, overpriced fare.
    Cocktail/Whisky bars here buy by the truckload and Chinese visitors to Japan will fill a suitcase with 8 or more bottles without hesitation. I do too…but certainly it’s never been 8 bottles of Japanese whisky!
    While it means I also get the chance to try these Japanese whiskies locally, they’re at outrageous prices which would be far better served by actually flying to Japan and drinking them in peace at a classy local, Japanese bar.
    Anyway, the good news is – you still can do that. You can’t often take any good stuff home, but there’s always incredible drams to be had and so many more to discover.

    • Thanks for your report Dwight. I believe some have done so, but I hope all the good whisky bars that stock Japanese whisky in Japan stocked up when the going was good.

  20. So I’m back in Southern Japan and got in 1 day of Whisky Hunting just before the snowstorm hit last night. Most of the usual department stores & liquor shops were pretty much bone-dry of the aged stock, especially Yamazaki & Hibiki. I did however manage to procure 5 more bottles of the Yamazaki Limited Edition 2015 from Mitsukoshi. Guess they still had some and maybe were clearing the stock for the assumed 2016 release.

    While I didn’t find much of anything else of note, bottle-wise, I did however get some information that may be of interest. You can take this and decide for yourself if it’s true, or not, I claim to be no “insider” and only reporting what I heard from other sources. According to a local liquor source I made friends with, it seems that Nikka will be soon stopping the release of the aged Taketsuru’s (17 & 21) as they still don’t have enough aged Yoichi & Miyagikyo to create the blended whisky. It seems that the price increase, last year, didn’t slow down the demand, and only increased it. Nikka will be releasing a NAS version of it, in its place. I got a second confirmation about the discontinuation from the owner of a whisky bar in the area as well.

    The other tidbit of information, is that I inquired about getting the Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2016 here in Japan at some of the larger liquor shops & whisky bars in the area and all of them are saying they won’t be getting it at all. It seems that the Japanese hotels are already willing to pay Suntory top $ to have it stocked in their bars first, so they can even sell them at a higher premium, by the shot, to customers. The rest is being exported overseas to America and Europe. Again, who knows, who will actually get it. Good luck finding it though.

    When the snowstorm passes, I’ll keep you guys appraised of my adventures in whisky hunting.

    • Slight edit to above post. I don’t know why I said Nikka will be “releasing” a NAS version of Taketsuru. They’ve had one for quite a while now (must have been thinking about the Yoichi and Miyagikyo NAS).

    • So nothing has improved only looks like it might get worse! Not sure yet whether I will be able to secure a bottle of the Yamazaki 2016 Sherry Cask yet myself and if I do it won’t be cheap. I’ve read there a 200 odd bottles slated for Australia but I reckon most will got to bars here as well. It will be a lottery for those who can buy it retail in the US and Europe, all will be sold on preorder. Thanks for the constant updates.
      Brian

      • OK, In Tokyo now on my first day. Here’s the update.

        1) Couldn’t find much in Southern Japan, even combed way out in the boonies to hopefully find some rare treasure. The best I did was find 3 bottles of Ichiro’s Malt MWR and an White Oak Single Malt, both at very reasonable prices. I was also able to procure 4 bottles of Yamazaki 12, but that took a lot of hunting and the prices ranged from 7800 yen to 9200 yen. I also bought another Taketsuru 21, just hedging my bets, in case it’s true that Nikka will announce they’re stopping that release. Plus 4 Nikka from the Barrel, because I like the taste and it’s cheap.

        2) My first day in Tokyo was a mixed bag. Went to 3 Shinanoya’s and didn’t find much except a lot of NAS or cheap stuff. I got 1 box of Ichiro’s Malt Double Distilleries (and a mini 300ml as well), got the Eigashima-Blackadder Single Cask release (last one on the shelf). Ironically, I had better luck finding rare and hard to find Bourbon in the US in Shinanoya. I was able to procure 6 bottles of Four Roses Single Barrel Limited Edition from different years (2012, 2013 & 2014) all at SRP.

        Bic Camera in Yurakucho had the Yamazaki Limited 2015, and a bunch of Hibiki 17 & Yama 12 minatures, but nothing else of value.

        3) If you’re really jonesing for a Yamazaki 18, or 25, or Hibiki 21 or 30, and don’t want to take a chance that Narita/Haneda Airport Duty Free won’t have those overpriced “Travel Editions” in stock when you leave Japan, you now have a new option in Tokyo. Mitsukoshi department store in Ginza has opened an Airport Duty Free shop on their 8th floor. Including a decent selection of overpriced Yamazaki 18 & 25 travel editions (50,000 Yen and 250,000 yen respectively). Plus actually a the lowest price I’ve seen on the Taketsuru 17 & 21’s. Some other lower end NAS stuff as well. Bring your passport and proof that you’re traveling out of Japan sometime soon. When you make the purchase it will be waiting for you when you board your flight at the airport, which is kind of a nice extra, since it’s saves the hassle of dragging the bottles back to your hotel, packing them and then dragging them to the airport.

  21. This article was really helpful in my quest for some Hibiki 17 so thanks! Dearer than I anticipated but only place I found it was in the Tokyo Station Liquors Hasegawa. Single bottle of Hibiki 17 was approximately 16500 -17000 yen – can’t remember the exact price but 2 H17 bottles + the cheap Suntory was £230 after conversion (£105 per bottleish).

    H17 was available in Narita, but only the traveller addition and was going for approx £140 or 22500 yen. Doing a bit of research on Amazon found a bottle to be approximately £170 per bottle and google indicates the cheapest would be £150. Out of stock on the whiskey exchange too.

  22. I’m in Southern Japan right now and I’m sorry to say, it’s pretty bad.
    All of the Taketsuru 17’s and 21’s are gone everywhere. My contact says Nikka has run out of aged Yoichi and Miyagikyo to make the aged blends, despite pulling the plug on the aged single malts last year, and we should be expecting a discontinuation announcement soon on the 17 & 21. What’s left are the Nikka 12’s and Taketsuru NAS. On the Suntory side, things aren’t much better. No Yamazaki 18’s anywhere (except overpriced Duty Free versions at Mitsukoshi DFS). Yamazaki 12’s are also near impossible to find. Found a couple of Hibiki 17’s around for about 12,000 Yen. You know things are bad when Bic Camera puts the 2 only Yamazaki 12’s, in their display case as a high-end product (for 8300 yen) instead of their 18 year old, or LE stuff.

    On the bright side, I went into the boonies and found a small liquor distributor who had 2 Yoichi 10’s and a bunch of dusties (Nikka Super 15, Suntory Royal 15, The Blend of Nikka 17 Maltbase, Once Upon a Time) all pretty cheap, between $18-$35 each. I know some of those dusties are not much more than mixer material, but it’s nice to have a piece of history. They had a couple of bottles I didn’t pick up, Suntory Excellence (still in fancy box) and Nikka Kingsland. They were a bit higher than the others ($50 – $60), and hadn’t read anything good about them. You think I should go back for them?

    Still I feel it’s not the best time to be whisky hunting in Japan.

    Will keep you appraised as the trip continues.

    • I think the Hibiki 17YO at Y12000 is pretty close to the original price. I find the Royal 15 to be an excellent creamy blend and not to be mixed or sneezed at, the Nikka 17 Blend even better and I would think most people would be hard pressed to pick it as a blend if tasted blind. $35 bucks for the Nikka is a true bargain even in Japan where they normally resell for about Y10,000.

      • That’s good to know. I thought the Yoichi 10’s were also a great score. They never came over to the states, just the 15’s. I also got a Suntory Zen 600ml for 900 yen., but I’m guessing that’s closer to mixer material?
        I know the Nikka 17 Maltbase is the predecessor to NFTB, which I also enjoy quite a bit. I found a few more NFTB to take home with me this trip. My friends also have a hard time believing that’s a blend as well.

        • Yeh the Yoichi 10 are a score, obviously not as complex as the older age statements but I still think the Yoichi distillery profile still shines through. Bought the entire range of 10 through 20 myself recently. Yes the Zen for mine is highball material, but that’s ok. The Nikka 17 Blend is a different experience to the NTFB. I would say that the NAS The Blend of Nikka Maltbase NAS may be more like the precursor of the NFTB though again it has a little more finesse that NFTB, though there was at least a couple of versions and I’m talking about the higher proof 45%abv. I’ll be surprised if you don’t rate the 17YO once you have tried it especially after about half the bottle is gone. Smokey Nikka’s seem to intensify after that stage. I bought a bottle recently for Y9000 and I thought that was a good price so well done.

  23. hi guys, gonna visit japan next month , mostly going to tokyo osaka kyoto area….what are the current prices/make sense prices on these items yama 12/18/LE 2015,hibiki 12/17/21,hakushu 18,taketsuru 17/25 ?if u guys have other recommendations for other whiskey for me to try, feel free to post in here.thx u

    • Hi,
      Cannot advise if you find any of these. There were some bottles of Hibiki 12YO at the Yamazaki distillery when I was there this month. I did not look at the price as I already had my duty free limit accounted for with other bottles. Liquors Hasegawa at Tokyo Station had a bottle of Yama LE 2015 Y22,000. You can buy the travel exclusive bottling of Yama 18 at Narita but it’s Y50,000. Isetan Shinjuku still have some bottles of the Blended Mars that was bottled for them. Think the price is under Y10,000 and I here it is good(I have a bottle but not opened yet). More easily found is the Nikka Coffey Grain and Coffey Malt. I really like the Coffey Grain.

    • The price is not the big issue, it’s their availability.
      The Yama 18 retails for 24,000 yen. The 12’s between 8,500 and 9500. The LE is out of circulation, so it’s going to be at double or more of it’s retail price wherever they still sell it.
      When I was in Japan last month, there weren’t any TK17 or 21 on the shelves. Saw the TK25 in Narita duty free for 70,000.

  24. I have a sets of Yamazaki 25, Hibiki 30 and Hakushu 25. Dunno who much would it be if i wanna sell it whole lot.

  25. Dam I am glad I found this. I was pulling my hair out yesterday trying to find Nikka 21 for a buddy back in the states. I found nikka 17 but didn’t have my PP on me for duty free so they gave me a paper with my info to hold it for me. I am staying here in Shinjuku so I will hop around some of these places you mentioned.

      • I found some at the place in Tokyo station, Nikka 21 but it was a special edition and was over $900. My friend said he got Nikka 21 regular for $100 or so, so who knows

        • The Nikka 21 sells between 140 and 160 if you can find it reasonably. The expensive 21 you saw was a unique one off. That being said Liquors Hasegawa where you saw it, is way overpriced.
          If I see it cheaper I’ll post here.

          • You are right, it was a 2014 SE. I just came across 2 Hibiki 17’s, they were 110 I believe but the lady didn’t have a CC machine and I didn’t have time to find a JP atm. I am heading to Osaka and Kyoto for a few days, figured if I don’t find any good stuff there when I return to Tokyo for my last day I will get cash. My buddy keeps bugging me for Nikka 21 but I don’t think he understands it’s like finding a rare pokeman lol

  26. [TOKYO]
    Bic Camera’s is pretty much cleaned out. If you want the Coffey Grain and Coffey Malt, there’s plenty of those and price is 5680 Yen.

    • I found a place in the entertainment district in Hiroshima, it had everything. Nikka 21, 17, Hibiki 17, Yamazaki 18 etc and they atually took CC, too bad it was all very $$$

  27. I ended up finding a few Yamazaki 12’s here in Osaka, grabbed one for 10.500 yen. They also had a Hibiki 17, Yamazaki 2016 SE, but they had it for 15.000, which is $50 more than retail from what I read.

    Also had Yamazaki 25 for 348.000 ouch
    Hibiki 30 299.000
    Yamazaki 25 98.000

  28. Anybody still in Tokyo looking for something, found Yamazaki 2016 LE’s at Matsuya department store in Ginza at Msrp 10,000 yen and tax free. It’s next to Mitskoshi. Floor B1. Look in the display case in the liquor department.

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