Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Chichibu Fino Sherry Single Cask for Shinanoya

Post by Stefan Van Eycken, Tokyo

Our friends at Shinanoya are celebrating another milestone with yet another really special release. Their latest bottling is the 100th since they started their flagship “Chess” series, way back in October 2007. They're not scared of a bit of hard work there, that's for sure. Their 100th bottling is a 4yo Chichibu. "So, what's new?" I hear you say. Well, what's new is that for the first time, we have a sherry-matured Chichibu: this single cask (#2625, 2010/2014) was drawn from a Fino sherry hogshead (bottled at cask strength, 59.7&abv). What a treat!

Even though almost everyone is on holiday here, it would surprise me if it took longer than a day for the 322 bottles to be gone. And along with demand, prices keep rising, too (this one is priced at 12,500 yen). We at Nonjatta can’t wait to try this – and we hope to be able to get back to you with some tasting notes soon… but we’re on holiday, too. Just so you know…

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Mars launches 'The Revival 2011'

Post by Stefan Van Eycken, Tokyo
Mars Shinshu (Hombo) has just launched their latest expression - the first one from the 'new regime'. Mars stopped distilling whisky in 1992. After a hiatus of almost two decades, they started again. The first spirit produced under the new regime - under master distiller Koki Takehira, that is - came off the stills in February 2011. It was kept in a stainless tank for a few months before being filled into wood - which is why the people at Mars had to wait until summer 2014 to be able to launch their first 3yo.

'The Revival 2011' is a vatting of lightly peated (8ppm) whisky exclusively matured in ex-bourbon casks, bottled at vatting strength (58%). There are 6,000 bottles, and - somewhat surprisingly, since it breaks with Mars' policy of sensible pricing - is priced at 10,000 yen a bottle. It remains to be seen whether whisky fans at home are willing to part with this kind of money for a 3yo whisky... The jury is still out on whether the quality of the whisky justifies the price tag.

Friday, August 1, 2014

‘Spirits for Small Change’ raises over 6.5m yen

Post by Stefan Van Eycken, Tokyo
Spirits for Small Change’ has just announced the results of their fundraising efforts (which included a whisky charity event held at BrewDog Roppongi and the online auction of the highly-limited Karuizawa ‘4 Decades’ bottling). The highest bid in the online Karuizawa ‘4 Decades’ auction was 550,000 yen, and the lowest 220,000 yen.
The total raised for the two charities comes to 6,509,114 yen (roughly 63,000 USD / 47,000 EUR) – of which 3,621,767 yen goes to Carillon Kodomo Centre, which operates shelters for abused and neglected children in and around Tokyo, and 2,887,347 yen goes to the Japan chapter of Shine On! Kids, specifically their program to provide children with cancer with therapeutic dogs.
‘Spirits for Small Change’ wishes to thank everyone who contributed to the success of this first charity event: Number One Drinks for their generous donation of the Karuizawa ‘4 Decades’ whisky, the many companies and individuals who kindly contributed bottles to the charity event (see below), Mark Watt and everyone at Cadenhead’s for creating a phenomenal one-off bottling for the event, the staff at BrewDog Roppongi, Malt City and Whisk-e for their structural support over the past couple of months and all of you who showed your support by attending the BrewDog event, bidding on the Karuizawa ‘4 Decades’ or sending us kind words of encouragement. It means a lot to us and to the children who benefit from the work of Carillon Kodomo Centre and Shine On! Kids.

Structural support for "Spirits for Small Change" is provided by:
BrewDog Japan, Whisk-e and Number One Drinks Co.

We gratefully acknowledge the liquid support of (in alphabetical order):
Archives (The Netherlands), Bar Gyu+ (Japan), Bar Zoetrope (Japan), Cadenheads (Scotland), Aaron Chan (Hong Kong), Eastern Faeries Tokyo Whisky Club (Japan), Kennis Ko (Hong Kong), HJ Konigs (Germany), La Maison du Whisky (France), Liquors Hasegawa (Japan), Malts of Scotland (Germany), Masaharu Minabe (Japan), Nahoko Nakajima (Japan), Nine Leaves Distillery (Japan), Hasse Peters (Sweden), Sansibar (Germany), The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (Japan), Shinanoya (Japan), Venture Whisky (Japan), Westland Distillery (USA), Whisky Faessle (Germany), The Whisky Exchange (UK), Stefan Wieschollek (Germany)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

5th Ghost: Karuizawa ‘4 Decades’ Auction

Post by Stefan Van Eycken, Tokyo
As of today, interested parties can bid on a unique Karuizawa release. It is a special vatting of malt distilled over the course of 4 decades – from 1960, right through to the final vintage (2000) – which was married for several months. Only 24 bottles were produced of this, and it truly is liquid history… the history of Karuizawa distillery merged into a single dram. For detailed information about this release, please check this post.

One of the things that makes this release very special for us, is that all proceeds (save for government taxes and banking charges) will be donated to two children’s charities in Tokyo: Carillon Kodomo Centre (who run several children’s shelters in and around Tokyo) and Shine On! Kids (specifically their program to provide therapeutic dogs to children with cancer).

This release will be sold by auction to the highest bidders. Individuals can only bid for one bottle (i.e. placing multiple bids for multiple bottles is not allowed). Bidding starts at 55,000 yen – which is 10% of the price that the initial bottle, auctioned off live at the ‘Spirits for Small Change’ charity event went for.  To place a bid: simply go to the Malt City page (English or Japanese), check out the 0 yen item and IN THE COMMENTS SECTION place your bid. Check out in the normal way – you will not be charged until the auction closes, one week later (on July 15th at 5pm, Japanese time), if you are among the lucky winners.

Every day (except at the weekend), the current lowest acceptable bid (CLAB) will be updated at 5pm, Japanese time. People can re-bid as many times as they want, up to their own personal limit, as long as it is above the CLAB. The last day, the CLAB will be updated at 2pm and 4pm, Japanese time, before the auction is closed at 5pm.

Do read the fine print on the Malt City page – any and all questions you may have are answered there!
Good luck – and thanks for your support!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

2 New Nikka Anniversary Releases: Taketsuru 21 NC and ‘Rita’ Apple Brandy 30yo

Post by Stefan Van Eycken, Tokyo


Nikka keeps pumping out limited edition variations on their standards in this, their 80th anniversary year. Details have just been announced of two interesting new bottlings, both of which will be released on July 2nd, the anniversary day of the company. One is a non-chillfiltered version of their Taketsuru 21yo Pure Malt (48%abv), the other an apple brandy named after Taketsuru’s Scottish wife, Rita, matured for over 30 years (43%abv).

The non-chillfiltered Taketsuru is, in a way, a follow-up to the well-received Taketsuru 17 Non-Chillfiltered, which was released in 2012. (A handful of bottles were available through LMdW in early 2013.) The non-chillfiltered Taketsuru 21 is limited to 3,000 bottles and will retail for around 18,000 yen.

The ‘Rita’ Apple Brandy 30yo is limited to 1,000 bottles and will go for around 30,000 yen. This will probably be the more sought-after of the two releases, in spite of the hefty price tag, for historic reasons. Fans of Nikka will know that the company originally dabbled in apple juice, and related products (apple cider and brandy). The name ‘Nikka’ is, in fact, a contraction of Dai Nihon Kaju Kabushiki Kaisha (The Great Japan Juice Company).

Both products will be limited to the domestic market and will be available from selected liquor shops. A handful will be offered through the online Asahi shop.