November has turned out to be a bumper month for whisky, with two of the biggest names in Japanese whisky releasing brand new bottles. Best of all, you may not have to spend your life savings to taste some of these single malts.
First up is Ichiro’s Malt Chichibu The First Ten, quietly revealed earlier in the month. The mouthful of a name says it all – this is a new release in the relentlessly popular Ichiro’s Malt range from the Chichibu Distillery in Saitama and it’s aged ten years. Considering the distillery has only been running for 12 years, that makes this some of Chichibu’s oldest whisky.
The First Ten has a recommended retail price of ¥19,800 – if you can find it. With only 5,000 bottles available worldwide, this one looks set to become another collector’s item. Your best bet to snag a glass is to visit your local Japanese whisky bar with fingers firmly crossed.
You should also keep an eye out for five new releases from Suntory. The Yamazaki 2020 Edition series (released on November 4) has no age statements, but boasts single malt whisky aged in different barrels to bring out a wider range of flavours. The whisky from Bordeaux wine casks has a sweet and sour note while the Japanese mizunara oak barrels make for a mellower dram.
Yamazaki 2020 Edition bottles start at ¥11,000 each, but they’re available exclusively to bars and restaurants, so (in Japan at least) Suntory fans won’t need to trawl whisky auction sites to find them. Happy hunting!