The Kyoto Distillery announced the highly limited release of "Ki Noh Bi" aged gin, available only from Isetan/Mitsukoshi and apparently already sold out. The only details I have are what's available on that product page. Nothing even posted on Ki No Bi's official website yet. Looks to me like it's their standard Ki No Bi gin, but they say it's been aged in Karuizawa Whisky casks. All of the bottles came and went for 10,800 yen apiece. Yep, premium Japanese gin just broke the 10000 yen mark.
But to me, this begs the question: why does the Kyoto Distillery even have casks for aging? Where do they age it, in some closet? Rented space in some other company's aging facilities? Sure, aged gin is starting to become a thing, but you can't help but wonder if this is more than just a simple experiment by the team. Kyoto Distillery's parent company, Number One Drinks, put small Japanese whisky distilleries like Hanyu and Karuizawa on the map in the whisky scene. Sounds to me like they have the expertise, storage, and distribution for whisky already at their fingertips.
But first things first! As far as I know Kyoto Distillery doesn't even have any pot stills. If they want to make a Japanese-style single malt whisky, chances are they'd need at least a couple. If the company was public you could monitor the financials for things like capex, but I suppose we'll just have to wait and see.
I’m Whiskey Richard, and I am the founder of nomunication.jp. I’ve lived in Tokyo for over a decade, and I am a certified Shochu Kikisake-shi/Shochu Sommelier (焼酎唎酒師), Cocktail Professor (カクテル検定１級), and I hold Whisky Kentei Level 3 (ウイスキー検定３級). Click here for more details about me and this site. Kampai!