Kanosuke’s first single malt, Saburomaru Hand Filled, Akkeshi Boushu, Asaka Single Cask, and more

This late-April 2021 roundup of new releases features seven bottles from Japan's craft whisky makers. Let's take a look.

Single Malt Kanosuke 2021 First Edition

As expected and highly anticipated, the first single malt from Komasa Jyozo's Kanosuke Distillery will be upon us soon. June 16, 2021 is the date. It's non-peated, with most of the blend comprised of recharred ex Mellowed Kozuru (aged rice shochu) American white oak casks.

Kanosuke says we can expect lime, prunes, and raisin butter on the nose, then a vanilla, cinnamon, and mellow woody palate. Slight bitterness of orangette and gentle sea breeze close things out.

700ml, cask strength 58% abv, 13,750 yen after tax. This one will be offered via online lottery too.

Saburomaru 2017 Hand Filled

This one has already been released, but Saburomaru 2017 Hand Filled is cask #275 that's a Bourbon barrel first-fill. Distilled back in 2017 and it's at cask strength 63% abv. 700ml and 17,600 yen after tax.

Interestingly, Saburomaru required a quiz to enter the online lottery to purchase the bottle.

Lovers Whisky

Toyama-based Saburomaru has also teamed up with sculpture artist Minako Yoshino. This bottle pays homage to "Lovers," a sculpture found in both New York's Riverside Park and at Toyama Station (Yoshino-san is from Toyama herself). If the Hand Filled bottle is too expensive for your tastes, this one is 300ml and 2733 yen after tax. 43% abv.

Given this one uses both grain and malt whisky, I'm assuming it's not entirely Japanese. In any case, Saburomaru is going to be donating a portion of revenue from this bottle to the City of Toyama to help pay for upkeep costs of the Lovers sculpture.

Akkeshi Single Malt Japanese Whisky Boushu

The third and latest entry in Akkeshi Distillery's 24 Solar Terms series is called Boushu, traditionally the time of year when grains are mature.

Boushu here is 55% abv and 16,500 yen after tax. It's also the first Akkeshi release to officially be called a Japanese Whisky under the new standard.

They say that we'll find milk chocolate and dry fruits in the sweet and nutty nose. On the palate there's campfire and peat smoke alongside citrus sourness and sugar syrup sweetness. The finish has sea salt, bitterness of cacao, and the sweetness of citrus closes things out.

Look for this one around May.

Asaka Yamazakura Single Cask Whisky

Next up is the first single cask release out of the Asaka Distillery. Cask #17202 was filled back in January 2017 and got bottled in February of this year. 50% abv so I'm guessing it's not cask strength, which is a tad out of ordinary for a single cask release.

This one is already out in the wild too. 283 bottles, 9900 yen after tax.

Single Malt Eigashima Old Sherry Butt 12 Year

It's not so often we see new releases of >10 year whiskies here in Japan, but Eigashima White Oak Distillery's latest is a 12 year ex-Sherry butt number. It's a single cask release too: 61% abv from cask #105036. Since 2020 they've been releasing bottles like this in the "Eigashima" brand.

500ml of the stuff is 22,000 yen after tax, and as of this writing there are still five left in stock online.

White Oak Single Malt Akashi 5 Year Bourbon Barrel 1st Fill

Of course Eigashima still labels bottles using the Akashi brand, like this new one here. It's 5 years aged in a 1st fill Bourbon barrel so as far as Akashi releases go, fairly "plain."

Also 500ml, 50% abv, and 7920 yen after tax. Still in stock too.

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