New Whisky Roundup: Nikka Session, Komagatake LE 2020, Kanosuke New Born Peated, and Yamazaki?

Let’s take a look at some of the newest releases of Japanese whisky coming to a Japan near you soon!

Nikka Session

This looks to be Nikka’s answer to Suntory’s Ao. That is to say it’s a world whisky rather than a Japanese one.

It’s a blend of whiskies from three distilleries: Yoichi, Miyagikyo, and Asahi-owned Ben Nevis. The notes from Nikka say:

Nose: fresh aroma of oranges and apples, sweetness and fragrance of malt. Gentle vanillins.
Palate: Smooth and creamy on the tongue, alongside a harmonious blend of light sweetness and fruitiness of oak
Finish: Slight bitterness and slowly fading peat

The name “Nikka Session” is perhaps a throwback to 1989’s blended Nikka Super Session.

Though not yet officially announced by Nikka, the cat is more or less out of the bag here. Expect it on September 29, 2020, for 4180 yen after tax. 700ml, 43% abv.

Single Malt Komagatake Limited Edition 2020

The lottery is now open until September 10 for Komagatake Limited 2020, from Mars Shinshu Distillery.

This year’s release changes the blend — it’s primarily from sherry casks and American white oak casks this time around. Expect plum, honey, and vanilla on the nose, oranges and other fruits with bitter cacao on the tongue, and a sweet easy finish. 50% abv, 700ml, 8580 yen after tax. Limited to 15000 bottles.

Kanosuke New Born 2020 Peated

This is potentially the final regular release of Kanosuke New Born as we expected to see Kanosuke Single Malt next year.

I’ll let you read the English website if you’re interested, but as you’ve probably gathered, it’s a 2-year new born that uses imported peated malt. 200ml, 58% abv, 3500 yen + tax. Look for this one around September 16, 2020.

Yamazaki NAS Limited Editions?

I want to stress that it’s entirely unconfirmed, but this past week a person set a certain FB group alight with details of upcoming limited edition releases out of Yamazaki. Per the post, there will be five bottles, all dropping on November 4:

  • Yamazaki Puncheon 2020 Edition, 48% abv, 700ml, 11000 yen
  • Yamazaki Bordeaux Wine Cask 2020 Edition, 700ml, 11000 yen
  • Yamazaki Spanish Oak 2020 Edition, 700ml, 11000 yen
  • Yamazaki Peated Malt 2020 Edition, 700ml, 11000 yen
  • Yamazaki Mizunara 2020 Edition, 700ml, 30000 yen

The poster goes on to say that he expects an official announcement from Suntory in October, so we hopefully won’t have to wait long to see if this is fake news or not. To his credit, he posted about the above-mentioned Kanosuke New Born Peated back in July, so there’s a good chance it’s legit.

He also mentions that he expects the bottles to be released to the public via lottery, similar to Yamazaki 55 from earlier this year. I’ll bring more details as I get them.

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