Okinawa's Helios Distillery has released a 21 year old version of their Teeda Japanese craft rum. As far as Japanese rums go, this is the longest maturation we've seen in recent years.
In fact, Helios Distillery is probably the only distillery in Japan capable of making something like this right now. There are a handful of other Japanese distilleries making rum--Nine Leaves is the first that comes to mind--but Helios has been at it the longest, since 1961. The distillery launched as the "Taiyou Distillery" making rum for US soldiers stationed in Okinawa.
So they did not start with awamori, as you may expect from an Okinawan distillery. They later rebranded as Helios, in 1969. If you're interested in learning more about Helios, here's a video of a masterclass by the founder's daughter at Rhum Fest Paris.
Last year we saw a 5-year Teeda rum drop, using rums from 5 to 15 year maturities. My guess is Helios is sitting on quite a lot of aged rum stocks, so perhaps we'll see even longer matured expressions coming soon.
Whisky fans may also be familiar with Helios as we reviewed their KURA rum-finish expression a couple years back.
This 21-year rum comes in at a hefty 48% abv, and it's bottled at 700ml. Per the notes, it noses of apricots and bananas, and features a palate that opens up with vanilla then gradually spreads into a spicy cinnamon. The long finish follows up with sweetness of chocolate and caramel.
Get your wallet ready since it's around 28,000 yen after tax. And there are only 2500 bottles of this are available worldwide -- good luck tracking it down!
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.