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Hakkaisan Centennial Anniversary Release “百” (Hyaku) And New Uonuma Rice Whisky Announcement

 

Sake stalwart Hakkaisan was founded in Minami-Uonuma 100 years ago in 1922, and so you can bet that they will mark their centenary celebrations with some big announcements.

The first of which is the creation of a special celebratory daiginjo expression named Hakkaisan Hyaku or 百, meaning "100".

The expression was made with Yamadanishiki rice from the Hyogo Prefecture, and was polished to a 25% rice polishing level, and was then stored in -3°C temperatures for 6 years. It is finally bottled at 18% ABV, with an SMV of +3.3 and a 1.4 Acidity level.

The new Hakkaisan Hyaku will be retailed in late September 2023 at 120,000 Yen (or US$824.50).

The bottling will also bear the newly designed logo of Hakkaisan.

Alongside the announcement of the celebratory centennial release, Hakkaisan's parent Hakkai Jozo also announced something big... the creation of a new rice whiskey, Uonuma.

 

The Fukazawahara Distillery making Uonuma rice whiskey.

 

While Hakkai Jozo had already made public previously their plans to make whisky at their new Niseko Distillery, it has now been announced that the group had established a second distillery, Fukazawahara Distillery, which will differ from the former by making rice whiskey rather than malt whisky.

The intention of which is to apply the group's expertise with rice to the whisky making field, and have even gone so far as to use sake yeast for their rice whiskey.

Japanese spirits site Nomunication lays out an interesting perspective that Uonuma will have to demonstrate their ability to make their rice whiskey without the use of koji if they are to qualify as "whisky" under Japanese law. 

Should they be able to do so, they would join the likes of Suntory, which had previously released a rice whiskey expression from their Osumi Distillery in 2020, and Kiuchi Shuzo which also uses rice whiskey as a component of their Hinomaru whisky.

Nonetheless Hakkai Jozo seems to certainly have something to show for it as they've staked Uonuma's rice whiskey's release for Spring 2024, stating that they've had this in the works since 2016.

 

Kanpai!

88 Bamboo Editorial Team