- Whisky’s increasing popularity has encouraged a bumper crop of new distilleries; Japan is seeing a record number of new distilleries.
- One of the most exciting is Shizuoka Distillery, a craft whisky distillery, run by Gaia Flow, distributors of Asta Morris and Blackadder independent bottlings in Japan.
- Using a traditional wood-firing method for distillation and also the distilling equipment salvaged from legendary mothballed Karuizawa Distillery, Shizuoka aims to produce heavy-bodied, rich whisky.
- Their first release “Prologue K”, K for Karuizawa, is out now. Read the tasting notes below for more!
- Hint: Many say it tastes reminiscent of Springbank whisky and Caroni and Hampden rum.
As whisky continues its ascent in popularity, we’ve seen a wave of new distilleries coming sprouting across the UK, and here in Asia it’s no different. Japan has seen no shortfall of new distilleries cropping up especially given how popular Japanese whiskies are becoming.
Yet, given that Japan has considerably more lax laws surrounding what can be legally labelled whisky, we’re seeing a wave of new whiskies coming to market, many of which are first time releases from new distilleries.
One of the most exciting distilleries is Shizuoka distillery, which is run by the good guys at Gaia Flow, an importer of popular independent whisky brands like Asta Morris and Blackadder serving Japan.
Gaia Flow is deep in the craft whisky scene in Japan and so have no issue putting together all the right pieces and ticking off the checkboxes of what makes a good distillery. They’ve opted to use wood-fired wash stills from Scotland in order to produce whiskies with a heavier body (that allows for more flavor to be packed in) and also to indirectly heat their spirit still with steam coils, for a more even and gentle heating that will coax the whisky to retain its flavors while slowly boiling off toxins from fermentation.
The legendary Karuizawa Distillery which has now been abandoned. (Image Source: Sunday’s Grocery)
They’ve even got their hands on the distilling equipment used by the now legendary distillery, Karuizawa. Talk about hitting all the right spots!
Well now, Shizuoka Distillery is ready to release their first single malt, “Prologue K”, K obviously for Karuizawa. Well we do certainly want to see this be as good as Karuizawa’s now untouchable and unaffordable whiskies.
“Prologue K” is 3 years old, matured in first-fill bourbon barrels and bottled at 55.5% abv. Half of the malt that goes into it is grown in Japan, whilst the rest was imported. There will be 5,000 bottles released and we can expect it to hit the market soon (we’ve started to see some pop up at auction sites).
Whiskynotes tells us we can expect the following tasting notes:
Nose: Big Oiliness, Minerals, Wet Limestone, Earth, Hints of Ginger, Aniseed, Fresh Peppermint, Bready, Almonds, Yellow Plums, Light Woody Vanilla
Palate: Minerals, Lots of Bright Fruits (Lemons, Peaches), Crushed Black Peppercorns, Juniper, Mustard Seeds
Finish: Long, Clean, Great Balance of Sharpness, Spiciness, Subtle Sweetness
From what we’ve heard, it’s often compared to Springbank (which we absolutely love), and rums like Caroni and Hampden (which we also love). It’s winning fans all over and it looks to be a distillery you wanna keep your eyes out for.
By the way, if you don’t know, this is what Shizuoka looks like.
(Image Source: His Go)
Shizuoka Distillery is located deep in the Shizuoka mountains, which is an hour and a half’s drive away from Mount Fuji. Tell me this does not check off every whisky fan’s absurd bucket list.
So…. Who is gonna spot us a dram?
As always, Kanpai!
No but seriously, a dram of Prologue K, anyone?