More November: Saburomaru I, Double H, Ryukyu Whisky, Marsmalt Le Papillon Takahide Komatsu, Okayama Collection 2021

More and more bottles coming at you in November! Today we have some from Okinawa, Mars Shinshu, Toyama, and Okayama.

Single Malt Saburomaru I The Magician

Following after last year's Saburomaru 0 The Fool, Saburomaru I The Magician brings similar specs: heavily peated, 3 year maturation in first-fill Bourbon casks, distilled in 2018.

The Fool was also a 3-year maturity, so what's the difference? The vintage. As Kuririn's Whisky Warehouse reminds us, the Saburomaru Distillery installed new Miyake mash tuns before their 2018 season, meaning The Magician should have a slightly "fresher" profile than The Fool.

Personally I'm eagerly awaiting next year's single malt releases, of which I already have a couple of bottles earmarked. 2019 marked the first season when the distillery used the ZEMON still, the world's only cast pot still.

Look for The Magician this month. 2000 bottles, 65% abv (I think).

Double H

Via friend of the site Blue Habu we've gotten word of a new liqueur called "Double H" (Habu x Herb) out of Okinawa. Per the official site, they're adding habu exract to a 59% abv molasses-based liquor base, then adding 13 different Chinese herbs such as siberian ginseng and ukon that have all been steeped in awamori.

If that sounds like a pretty wild combination, that's probably because it is. Habushu has the unfortunate reputation as being one of the most off-putting liquors in Japan, and pit vipers have to be killed to even manufacture the stuff. Quite cruelly, I might add. Completely understandable if you want no part of this one.

Ryukyu Whisky

Speaking of Okinawa, on a lighter note, the crowdfunding campaign for "Ryukyu Whisky" is now underway.

I'd describe it as a awamori-whisky hybrid, given they're importing whisky from Scotland and blending it with an awamori that's seen 13 years inside an oak cask.

A couple years back I tried an ex-awamori that was aged for a similar length of time in oak, so it could be quite interesting to see how that profile would go right alongside a more traditional whisky from Scotland.

The cheapest option on the crowdfunding page is 5000 yen, which lands you one bottle of the stuff.

Importantly, unlike all other aged shochu/awamoris we've seen, this one legally qualifies as whisky in Japan because it contains a significant component distilled from malted grain. Per Japanese law, if only 10% of the final product is whisky (as the rest of the world knows it), it's classified as whisky.

That might explain why the maker, Shinzato, recently got a whisky distillation license!

Marsmalt Le Papillon Takahide Komatsu Edition

Here's a series of 365 bottles--a single 30-year cask was emptied--each featuring a hand-drawn piece of artwork by celebrated Rinpa-style artist Takahide Komatsu.

Japan has some 257 species of butterfly, so with 365 bottles, all of them are represented. Needless to say, each bottle will really be one-of-a-kind.

So between the art and the fact that we're looking at a 30-year Mars Shinshu single cask, these fetch a pretty penny: 297,000 yen after tax.

If you want to sign up for the lottery for a bottle, do so over at Mars's site by November 14.

Single Cask Whisky Okayama Collection 2021

Out of the slightly obscure Okayama Distillery comes a three-pack of single cask whiskies, dubbed the Okayama Collection 2021.

The three bottles are:

  • Japanese Cedar Cask Strength, aged for 3 years and 9 months in a cask using Japanese cedar (heads, presumably)
  • Chestnut Cask Strength, aged for 4 years and 2 months in a cask using chestnut (heads, again)
  • Bourbon Cask Strength is aged in a more standard Bourbon barrel for 5 years.

Each bottle is 60% abv, 700ml.

We certainly don't see cedar and chestnut used in casks in whisky anywhere else in the world besides Japan, so these could be quite interesting.

Only 30 sets of these will be available, so if you're willing to pay the 220,000 yen price, head over and sign up for the lottery.

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