What you need to know:
- Shizuoka Distillery announces the release of their third bottling, Contact S, made using both their Pot Still K, salvaged from mothballed Karuizawa Distillery, and directly wood-fired Pot Still W.
- The distillery says that this whisky is a wholesome, rounded well-balanced single malt that can be likened to a circle.
- It is a yin-yang of steam-heated Pot Still K which produces whiskies with a fruity aroma and light taste, while the directly wood-fire Pot Still W produces a heavy taste with a long finish, complementing one another.
- This 3 year old single malt will be bottled at 55.5% ABV with an outturn of 5,000 bottles.
- Cop the Drop or Not Verdict: Not
Shizuoka Distillery's third release Contact S is a blend of the distillery's whiskies from both pot stills. (Image Source: Shizuoka Distillery)
Shizuoka Distillery, one of a new wave of craft whisky distilleries coming out of Japan, is famous for having salvaged pot stills previously used by Karuizawa Distillery, which they nicknamed Pot Still K. The distillate produced by Pot Still K was the basis to the distillery's inaugural bottling Prologue K.
Their second bottling was the result of distillate produced from their second pot still, a rare directly wood-fired still, nicknamed Pot Still W, which went into their second release, Prologue W.
The Pot Still K, salvaged from the mothballed Karuizawa Distillery. (Image Source: Shizuoka Distillery)
As you can piece together, the distillery has a strong focus on their pot stills and just how unique they are, which of course have a huge bearing on the whiskies produced.
Of course, that isn't all, the distillery also has been incorporating lots of local produce such as wood from local sugi and hinoki cypress and trees for example.
Now, the distillery has announced the release of their third bottling, titled "Contact S", which will showcase a blend of distillates from both pot stills.
(Image Source: Shizuoka Distillery)
The distillery mentions that it is a wholesome, rounded well-balanced single malt that can be likened to a circle. Or perhaps a yin-yang, as steam-heated Pot Still K produces whiskies with a fruity aroma and light taste, while the directly wood-fire Pot Still W produces a heavy taste with a long finish, complementing one another.
Contact S was made using Japanese barley malt, Scottish peated and unpeated malt and German beer malt, while the barrels used were primarily first-fill Bourbon barrels and quarter casks.
It is aged for 3 years, and bottled with a 55.5% abv, with a total outturn of 5,000 bottles released. Currently, it will only be distributed in Japan.
The directly wood-fired Pot Still W, which is a traditional yet fairly rare practice these days as most distilleries opt for a more consistent and easy to use coil-based continuous heating. (Image Source: Shizuoka Distillery)
In my opinion, I would say this is the distillery's first proper single malt. Yes, yes, I understand the Prologue K and W exists, but this is probably a better representation of the kind of whisky we can expect from Shizuoka Distillery going forward. This matters because the Prologues had such differing profiles, but here, as Shizuoka mentions, we see a more rounded, well-balanced malt whisky where the two parts come together to form what is likely a very rounded, medium-bodied whisky that is fruity and oily, with a long finish - the ideal whisky in Shizuoka's view! It's all about the balance!
This will certainly be interesting to try, but I also presume that as the distillery begins to produce more of such whiskies, they will become more available and accessible in the near future. Don't fall for the chase, with such limited distribution, this is sure to skyrocket, but as I mentioned, we'll most likely see more of such styled whiskies from the distillery available for wider distribution, so fret not.
Cop the Drop or Not Verdict: Not
Happy Hunting and Kanpai!