Thursday, January 7, 2016

Going Ape for the Year of the Monkey

Best wishes, dear reader, to you and your loved ones for the new year. We hope it’s filled with many good dr(e)ams (at reasonable prices - now there’s a good dream!).
Here in Japan, the first release of the year is upon us… or better, “was upon us” because it sold out in a flash. That doesn’t seem to have changed. Bottled exclusively for Takashimaya and released yesterday, people went ape for this single cask Chichibu (2010, Bourbon Barrel #644). In a matter of hours, it was all over the auctions. That hasn’t changed either...

Regular Nonjatta-readers will have noticed that things have slowed down a bit on the site. Part of this has to do with the fact that it’s getting harder to write about new releases, because either (a) we can’t write about them in advance because of embargoes on information imposed on us by distributors/retailers (understandably so, given the risk of speculators hijacking releases), or (b) we find out about a release just when it’s out but by the time we can sit down and put pen to paper (well, fingers to keyboard) it’s already long gone, sold out. People have a hard time believing that releases come and go at the speed of light, but that is the reality at the moment.

We haven’t been sleeping on the job, however  - far from it! -  and the main reason why things have slowed down a bit on our site is because Stefan, our editor, has been traveling up and down the country, speaking with whisky makers past and present, visiting bars in every nook and cranny and digging through dusty archives left and right in preparation for what is meant to be the definitive book on Japanese whisky. It’ll be filled with tons of information never before published (not even in Japanese), but it’s absorbing every spare minute of his time, so there hasn’t been as much on the site as we would have liked. We’re only human (we know that’s a terrible excuse, but it’s true...). Stefan’s got a few more months of work ahead of him, during which he has to keep a lot of his powder dry, but when the book is done we’ll step on the accelerator and continue providing you with up-to-date news and insights from the ground, as we always have. There’s still snippets we will share with you over the coming months, so do check in from time to time. Without giving away too much, we can say that those who do may be able to get their hands on something really special in the weeks to come. ‘Nuff said...

Our wish for the new year is that people would actually start opening and drinking more Japanese whisky, like they used to before the boom. There are some really stellar drams out there, past and present, but it is only liquid at the end of the day… so don’t spend too much on it and don’t fetishize or worship it. We seem to be forgetting this more and more but whisky only fulfils its destiny in its consumption. So kanpai, here’s to lots of whisky sipped and savoured in 2016!

8 comments:

mark khoo said...

What was the price?.... Before it sold out...

Parrish Lantern said...

Is there a prospective release date for this book?

Elskling said...

Best wishes to you guys !

Can't wait for that book, i'm very excited about this project... And the special releases too of course,

Thanks for your efforts and long live japanese whisky.

Anonymous said...

Nice to hear that the ghost series might continue.
It would be interesting to hear how does the prices affect this effort of yours?

Have you thought in expanding the series into rum (Nine Leaves)?

Stefan Van Eycken said...

The prices will affect this effort, simply because we cannot keep hurting ourselves while people who sell one of our bottles at auction earn much, much, much more money than anything earned from the entire Ghost series combined!
Rum is not doable because our partner in this project does not have a license to bottle and sell rum... only to bottle and sell whisky.

Stefan Van Eycken said...

The price of the Takashimaya bottle was 22,000 yen - which is a new record for a single cask, young Chichibu. So as can be seen, prices keep rising and rising... As long as the demand for these single cask bottlings is a multiple of the average outturn of a cask (which it wasn't in the past, hard as it may be to believe now!! but it definitely is now), producers can basically set any price they like... and there will still be 200 or 300 die-hard fans (or you can call them other things...) are willing to shell out the money!

Will said...

It's a shame that the demand and charge-whatever-you-want-people-will-pay-it structure has taken the vast majority of Japanese whisky enthusiasts out of the buy/drink game and left us with standard NAS releases and the dream of following along through blogs. While still fun to keep up on the latest (looking forward to the book), it's definitely a disappointment to know that the days of hunting down a single cask are long gone, even when visiting Japan. The ghost series remains that last true hope for many (myself included) so kudos for the extensive work you guys put in to it and to all those who open and drink them.

DORAGON KID said...

2016 2/2 Yamazaki Sherry Cask sale