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[Malt Review] Shizuoka Prologue K and Prologue W

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Shizuoka Prologue K and Prologue W Single Malts – Review

 

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Sometimes, whisky changes lives; it really does. If you think I’m being dramatic, just look to the founder of Shizuoka Distillery, Daiko Nakamura.

Shizuoka Distillery, along with renowned names like Chichibu, are tip of the spear in a promising movement the past decade to revitalise the spirit of Japanese craft whisky, also known as Ji-Whisky (“地元のウイスキー” roughly transliterated as “Jimoto no uisuki”). For this, Shizuoka Distillery is a distillery worth watching.

Founder Daiko Nakamura was originally in the renewable energy sector. A fateful visit to Scotland’s Islay farm distillery, Kilchoman, and a chance encounter with Ichiro Akuto of Chichibu fame, left Nakamura inspired. He was convinced that whisky was where he wanted to be. First, as a distributor, he broke into Japan’s whisky market by importing labels such as Blackadder, Asta Morris, and the Swedish Mackmyra. But that was not enough; he would go on to start his own distillery: the Shizuoka Distillery.

The Shizuoka Distillery sits by the banks of the Abe Nakagawachi River, nestled within the lush mountains of Shizuoka prefecture, not far away from the sacred Mount Fuji. On the first visit to the distillery, one is struck by its simple yet modern buildings, furnished with local Sugi (cedar) and Hinoki (cypress) wood. The architecture is designed to allow visitors to simultaneously tour the distillery and enjoy breathtaking views of the Shizuoka mountains in the backdrop.

There is much that goes into appreciating a distillery’s whisky, but if I could point out just two, it would be (1) Shizuoka Distillery’s commitment to using local produce and (2) the compelling story behind its pot stills.

Shizuoka Distillery wants to give drinkers a taste of its locality with the use of local produce. From the waters of the nearby Abe Nakagawachi River, to the locally-grown barley (to a growing extent), and also the firewood used to heat one of its pot stills, Shizuoka Distillery aims to one day be entirely local. This is no mean feat, considering that Japan does not natively grow significant amounts of barley...

 

Read the full review here.