The San Francisco World Spirits Competition is the largest such competition in the world. In past years, we've seen several now iconic Japanese whiskies such as Yamazaki 18 and Fuji Gotemba Blender's Choice get decorated with some of the highest honors.
Now another Japanese whisky joins those ranks, but it's from where you may expect. Instead it's from Matsui Shuzo: The Matsui Mizunara Cask has been awarded a prestigious Double Gold at San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2019. Double Gold is awarded only to spirits where the judges unanimously decide to award Gold. The only other Japanese whiskies to earn this award in years past come from Kirin, Nikka, or Suntory. And, it's only the fourth Japanese NAS whisky to win this award.
I've written plenty about Matsui Shuzo over the last few months. First we dove into how they may have turned a corner, then trying one of the new whiskies that they're (at least partially) distilling here in Japan.
While it's impossible to forget the company's past--or present, for that matter--this award should certainly earn them and The Matsui series some much-needed prestige.
Like the recent Tokyo Whisky & Spirits Competition, the San Francisco World Spirits Competition tastings are conducted blind. While we may never get a definitive answer about how much of The Matsui whisky is distilled in Japan, it's evident that at least for SFWSC judges, taste is paramount and The Matsui Mizunara Cask is damn good.
Congratulations to Matsui Shuzo!
Whiskey Richard is the founder of nomunication.jp, and has been saying he has lived in Japan for ten years for the past four years. He enjoys drinking basically anything except straight-up Campari.