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Japanese Whiskys

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Japanese Whiskys

Postby Bulkington » Tue Oct 10, 2006 8:38 pm

From what I can tell the only Japanese whiskys available in the states are the Yamazaki expressions. Is this right? Reading some of the reviews here at whiskymag, I'm very interested in getting a bottle of Yoichi 10 (et al.), but outside of Japan and on-line vendors who'd charge me as much for the shipping as for the whisky, I'm not sure it's findable, even in NYC. Am I right? Am I wrong? Recommendations?

Thanks,

-b
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Postby hpulley » Tue Oct 10, 2006 10:30 pm

If you can drive up to Ontario, Canada there are still some bottles of 10yo and 12yo Yoichi in a few stores. vintages.ca seems to be down right now but check there for stores close to the border for stock. I liked both at a tasting but didn't love the bottle of 10yo I bought. Still thinking about trying a bottle of the 12yo but honestly, I can think of scotch to buy instead for $120.

You're right about the shipping from Japan. I buy some books from there and even with a light article like a book the shipping costs more than the item and takes 2-3 weeks to get here.

Harry
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Postby sku » Wed Oct 11, 2006 12:16 am

Yes, only Yamazaki is available in the US and only the 12 and 18 yos. I'm a big fan of Japanese whisky and I have to rely on friends who go to Japan to get it...a real pain.
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Postby Virginia Gentleman » Wed Oct 11, 2006 12:49 am

I bought a bottle in New Jersey the last time I drove through. I have also seen it in Washington, DC.

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Postby Badmonkey » Thu Oct 12, 2006 12:02 am

I understand your dilemma all too well, Bulkington. Japanese distillers are rather hopeless at marketing their products overseas, which is surprising given the time and expertise of the companies involved. I'm not sure that I would ever pay $100 for Yoichi despite my love of the whisky. Do you have friends in Japan or who do business in Japan from time to time? Even with import duties tacked on, you can do very well bringing it in with friends because the product is reasonably priced in Japan most of the time.
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Postby Jan Primus » Fri Oct 13, 2006 12:38 am

hpulley wrote:If you can drive up to Ontario, Canada there are still some bottles of 10yo and 12yo Yoichi in a few stores. vintages.ca seems to be down right now but check there for stores close to the border for stock. I liked both at a tasting but didn't love the bottle of 10yo I bought. Still thinking about trying a bottle of the 12yo but honestly, I can think of scotch to buy instead for $120.

You're right about the shipping from Japan. I buy some books from there and even with a light article like a book the shipping costs more than the item and takes 2-3 weeks to get here.

Harry


Are those the Nikka 10 & 12 you're talking about?
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Postby Badmonkey » Fri Oct 13, 2006 1:25 am

Yoichi is a Nikka brand, and I believe he is referring to the Yoichi 10 and Yoichi 12 specifically. Most of the whiskies in Japan are made by a small number of very large beverage companies, with Nikka and Suntory being the most prominent, and Mercian and Kirin also producing a fair amount.
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Postby hpulley » Fri Oct 13, 2006 9:31 pm

Yes, I'm referring to Yoichi 10yo and Yoichi 12yo. They are made by Nikka and I've heard some refer to them as that instead of Yoichi.

Who makes Yamazaki?

Harry
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Postby Badmonkey » Fri Oct 13, 2006 11:09 pm

Yamazaki is a Suntory label, Harry, as is Hakushu.

Nikka makes Yoichi, Sendai, and Miyagikyo, and also releases several blends under the Nikka banner.

Mercian makes Karuizawa and used to own the Shirakawa label. I don't think the Shirakawa distillery is in operation anymore.

Kirin owns the Fuji-Gotemba label.

Chichibu is a product of Toa Shuzo, a company better known for its nihonshu and shochu.

In most of these cases the label is based on the location of the distillery.
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Postby Pascal » Tue Oct 17, 2006 7:35 pm

Badmonkey wrote:Chichibu is a product of Toa Shuzo, a company better known for its nihonshu and shochu.

Which are quite enjoyable as well (from my limited experience!) :wink:
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Postby Bulkington » Tue Oct 17, 2006 9:55 pm

Thanks for your replies, all.

I'm surprised, given the inroads luxury items have made into the culture (I'm talking about the US), not to mention the broadening of available cuisines (noting esp. the popularity of Japanese food), that there isn't an obvious market here for Japanese distillers to tap. I can apparently order Yoichi on-line from the UK (from royalmilewhiskies.com, for example) if I wanted to swallow the shipping, or I could drive to Canada (not an option; is there no where I can order from Canada? I gather from a cursory google search that their liquor sales are pretty well state-controlled), but why go through all that on a gamble? I haven't even tried it. But I'm intrigued. I've tried the Yamazaki 10 and found it too sweet for my taste; I have yet to try, but suspect the same from, the 18. But then I read the glowing reviews of some of the peaty Yoichi expressions at this site and ... not an option. Frustrating.
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Postby Badmonkey » Wed Oct 18, 2006 1:24 am

I share your frustration with the paucity of Japanese whiskies on the market here. Despite their expertise at making whisky and the intense competition of the local distiilling industry in Japan, the country's whisky producers are unremarkable when it comes to marketing their product overseas. Cost considerations certainly play a role -- despite Japan's extremely low taxes on spirits, the top-end Japanese whiskies aren't cheap, and they would have a hard time beating scotch and bourbon on price. That said, some of their blends are inexpensive and absolute dynamite. A bottle of Nikka Pure Malt (Black) costs less than $20 in Tokyo.

Suntory, Nikka, and the others are sophisticated operations with expert advisors, so I'd be interested to know from company reps what key challenges they see in pushing their product overseas. Maybe I can arrange a meeting with someone at Suntory in January when I head to Tokyo. This is an issue that has been gnawing at me for the last 2 years.
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Re: Japanese Whiskys

Postby Bulkington » Wed Oct 22, 2008 5:40 pm

So after finally getting a bottle of Yoichi 12 and loving it, a friend and I are going to splurge on a multiple-bottle order from the UK. Definitely a Yoichi 15 and probably also a Yoichi 10 and a Hakushu 12, but what else might you recommend in the same price range? Thanks.
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Re: Japanese Whiskys

Postby tungsten » Wed Oct 22, 2008 6:54 pm

I recommend the Karuizawa (e.g. 17) and the Hakushu. Or, if you can get it, any of Suntory's "vintages" (single year/casks of very different natures). The Yoichi is one of the best, but I don't think it's worth to go for the different ages before trying the others...
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Re:

Postby Wave » Thu Oct 23, 2008 7:42 am

Badmonkey wrote:despite Japan's extremely low taxes on spirits, the top-end Japanese whiskies aren't cheap,

No they aren't that cheap but I did find them fairly reasonable. While In Tokyo last year I bought a Hanyu 22yr old 1985 Ichiro's Malt Ace Of Hearts for 17,000Â¥ (at the time around $140US) not too bad in my guestimation! :wink:

Cheers!
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Re: Japanese Whiskys

Postby lohssanami » Thu Oct 23, 2008 8:24 am

I did see a Hibiki blended in an old liquor store a month or so ago, but I couldn't see an age statement, and the price was over $100. I may revisit to get more info, but it didn't grab my attention at that price.

Other than that, I've only seen Yamazaki's.
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Re: Japanese Whiskys

Postby lisa » Thu Oct 23, 2008 8:55 am

If you have business in europe (don´t know if they deliver to US) this i an amazing whisky
http://www.whisky.fr/produit.php?id=14775
Actually worth the somewhat hefty pricetag (also probably not a version available in Japan)

BTW LMDW is one of the most wellstocked for Japanese whiskies of all sorts in Europe I would assume
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Re: Re:

Postby corbuso » Thu Oct 23, 2008 9:32 am

Wave wrote:
Badmonkey wrote:despite Japan's extremely low taxes on spirits, the top-end Japanese whiskies aren't cheap,

No they aren't that cheap but I did find them fairly reasonable. While In Tokyo last year I bought a Hanyu 22yr old 1985 Ichiro's Malt Ace Of Hearts for 17,000Â¥ (at the time around $140US) not too bad in my guestimation! :wink:

Cheers!


I can only agree with you. A friend bought a bottle of Yamazaki 18 YO in Japan and the price there was 18,000Â¥, about 15% more expensive than in Europe.
It might be true for blends.
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Re: Japanese Whiskys

Postby Bulkington » Thu Oct 23, 2008 8:44 pm

Well, we stuck with the plan, due to availability and affordability, and are eagerly awaiting an order of Yoichi 10 and 15, Hakushu 12, and a couple Nikka blends: All Malt and From the Barrel. :o

I will try to keep the credit card under wraps until the new Lagavulin 12 and unpeated Caol Ila make it over here.
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