Review: Single Malt Japanese Whisky Shizuoka Prologue K

The first up in our series of reviews of three single malt whiskies from Japan's newest distilleries is Shizuoka Prologue K. Let's dig in.

The Shizuoka Distillery is the manifestation of GAIAFLOW president Taiko Nakamura's dream. Located in the mountainous region of Shizuoka prefecture, the first distillate rolled off the stills in October 2016.

Famously, the Shizuoka Distillery has not two but three pot stills, plus a hybrid still. One of the wash stills was formerly used at the iconic Karuizawa Distillery, and the other (Forsyths) one allows wood direct-firing. Their spirit still, also Forsyths, uses standard indirect heating.

It's also worth noting that Shizuoka is the only distillery in the world using cedar washbacks. They have 4 made of the standard Douglas fir, and 4 made of cedar.

Getting to Prologue K, here are the specs:

  • Because this distilled prior to the company having setup all of the above stills, both the stripping run (first distillation) and wash run (second distillation) were done on that ex-Karuizawa wash still. Thus the "K" in the name. Shizuoka is calling it a "Single Wash Still Whisky" because presumably, some of their future releases will be a blend of whiskies made using the Karuizawa still and the wood-fired still.
  • A blend from 31 different casks, all 3+ years, all first-fill Bourbon casks
  • Made from half imported malt and half Japan-grown malt

This was a fairly large release of 5000 bottles, all for the Japanese market. Plenty of stories online about people dropping into their local and it was just sitting there on the shelf.

Let's crack it open!

Review: Single Malt Japanese Whisky Shizuoka Prologue K

Nose: Malty, vanilla syrup. Fresh and bright grassy peat barely comes through. And a slice of pear. It's all there.

Palate: Young and malty, with a nice helping of woody caramel and vanilla. Given the age, the palate finishes plasticy and oily.

Finish: An orange that you dropped in the dirt. Black pepper and sansho close things out. Or so you thought! Plastic makes a comeback.

Score: B+

Price paid: 8130 yen + tax

Definitely still a juvenile whisky, but it's a fine example of the delicacy and complexity that Shizuoka should offer to us going forward. I have high hopes!

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