Shizuoka Pot Still K Now With Pure Japanese Barley First Edition
What you need to know:
Shizuoka is releasing their first official Japanese single malt made of 100% Japanese barley! This First Edition will be produced under the Pot Still K line-up, which famously uses the defunct Karuizawa Distillery's salvaged pot still.
The First Edition (which is said to sport a beautiful pale amber whisky), a total of 2,500 bottles will be released in Japan due to the small production numbers.
These were aged for 3 - 5 years and were matured in several types of barrels. It is bottled at 55.5% ABV and is priced at 18,150 Yen or ~140 USD. It is due for release in mid-June 2022.
Shizuoka Distillery says that they first started using Japanese barley in 2016 and have continued to use it every year since. Japanese barley is rare due to the lack of suitable farming areas and poor yields, making them difficult to secure.
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(Image Source: Shizuoka)
Shizuoka has proudly announced that the Prologue is over and that a new chapter is finally beginning - their Japanese single malts are now made fully from 100% Japanese barley.
The first to be released under the distillery's official line-up is the Pot Still K, which famously uses the defunct Karuizawa Distillery's salvaged pot still.
Shizuoka Distillery says that they first started using Japanese barley in 2016 and have continued to use it every year since.
"Finally, a single malt made from 100% Japanese barley has been made. The project started with the desire to drink whiskey made from Japanese barley, but this time, I think the whisky is more than full of Japanese-ness. I hope you can feel the whiskey terroir."
Daiko Nakamura, the man behind Shizuoka Distillery. (Image Source: Shizuoka)
For the First Edition (which is said to sport a beautiful pale amber whisky), a total of 2,500 bottles will be released in Japan due to the small production numbers. These were aged for 3 - 5 years and were matured in several types of barrels. It is bottled at 55.5% ABV and is priced at 18,150 Yen or ~140 USD. It is due for release in mid-June 2022.
Japan's Barley Situation
This is pretty significant considering that most Japanese whiskies are made using imported barley from the UK, given that barley is not widely grown commercially in Japan due to lack of areas suitable for barley farming and poor yields. This also means that any local barley tends to be highly expensive and prohibitive to use.
The gorgeous Shizuoka Distillery. (Image Source: Shizuoka)
"At our company, we are working on making whiskey with high cost Japanese barley malt because of the potential in the flavor of Japanese barley whiskey and the importance of terroir (land individuality) as Japanese sake. The taste of whiskey produced from Japanese barley has Japanese delicacy and soft and smooth sweetness, making it a terroir-rich liquor that has a different taste and lid from overseas barley."
Yet, in true craft whisky fashion (called Ji-Whisky in Japan), these artisanal distilleries seek to provide the truest expression of the distillery's surroundings - giving fans a taste of something truly local and unique. As such, a big goal for many of these distilleries has been to source local Japanese barley - and it seems Shizuoka has successfully begun to do so!
Pot Still K, a remnant of the legendary but now defunct Karuizawa Distillery. (Image Source: Shizuoka)
Pot Still K
For those who've yet to discover Shizuoka's incredible story (we've written a little piece on them here), we'll cut right to it. Shizuoka Distillery founder, Daiko Nakamura, had found a way to salvage some pot stills used in the now defunct legendary Japanese distillery, Karuizawa, which was just a little too ahead of its time. This was installed in Shizuoka Distillery, and nicknamed Pot Still K.
Pot Still K is not just unique for its provenance, it also has a pretty interesting structure that allows it to produce a light and delicate whisky distillate. Shizuoka Distillery says that with the Japanese barley, this has created a delicate, yet sweet and elegant whisky.
Shizuoka has been producing some amazing stuff and have relentlessly worked towards showcasing the local flavors of the distillery in true craft spirit fashion - having gone the extra mile to ensure the use of 100% Japanese barley, despite the difficulties of securing such supply.
A set of special bottlings to commemorate Gaia Flow's 10th Anniversary. (Image Source: Shizuoka)
While Shizuoka has always made clear of their intention to do so, we already got a little sneak peek a month back when Shizuoka announced a bottling of Wine Cask finished 100% Japanese barley single malt in commemoration of parent, Gaia Flow's 10th Anniversary, bottled under partner indie bottler Blackadder.
So we know this is just the beginning and we're gonna start seeing the distillery weave in more the use of 100% Japanese barley - something we're thoroughly interested in and has yet to be anything more than uncommon amongst Japanese single malts, and definitely worth the try.
The new Pot Still K now with 100% Japanese barley! (Image Source: Shizuoka)
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