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As another year draws to a close, its a good time to highlight all of the amazing developments that have taken place for Japanese Whisky in 2015. It’s also an opportunity to look ahead to 2016 and the developments that are on the horizon. The upcoming year will be sure to delight Japanese whisky fans!
Highlights of 2015
- Exports of Japanese Whisky increased by 26%.
- Suntory’s Yamazaki Single Malt Sherry Cask was the highest rated whisky in the world in Jim Murray’s whisky bible.
- Suntory went into space with its whisky (https://dekanta.com/suntory-whisky-going-into-outer-space/), beat that Scotch!
- March was the month when the insanely popular NHK drama Massan, on the life of Masataka Taketsuru finished airing. In total the episodes were 150 with the first one airing on September 29th. Taketsuru is considered the father of Japanese Whisky and responsible for founding Nikka. Especially popular among housewives in Japan, the show caused such a surge in domestic sales that Nikka had to restructure its entire lineup.
- May was the month dekanta officially opened to deliver Japanese Whisky to the world. Although the founders have been in the whisky business for decades, dekanta brought this knowledge and extensive inventory of Japanese Whisky online for the first time.
- In August, a bottle of Japanese Karuizawa whisky set a record when it sold for 118,500 USD at an auction in Hong Kong. The same buyer reportedly paid almost 500,000 USD for the whole collection (54 bottles) of Ichiro’s Malt.
- A Karuizawa tasting event in London raised money for the earthquake victims of Nepal. Tickets were sold for 6,000 Pounds, and each participant got to take home a 70cl bottle of the 1983 blend. These bottles will likely be worth a fortune in a few years.
- September was a big month as Nikka put its new non-age statements on the market. These non-age statements were the result of the exploding domestic demand for whisky.
Whats coming in 2016
- Perhaps the most exiting news for 2016 is that Gaiaflow (http://www.gaiaflow.co.jp/) is opening up its very own distillery in Shizuoka. Gaiaflow is an independent bottler known for importing and bottling exotic whiskies from places like India and Sweden. The company has already bought equipment from the legendary Karuizawa distillery (https://dekanta.com/distilleries/the-karuizawa-distillery/) and is inspecting it now. The plan is to have the distillery operational in the Spring 2016. It will be exciting to see how this turns out!
- News surfaced in November that Number One Drinks Co. owned by two Brits named David Croll and Marcin Miller is opening up its very own distillery near Kyoto. It’s Gin, not whisky but exciting never the less!
- Suntory will be busy in 2016. Our sources tell us they are building a new storage house for their whisky to age in. Even more exciting is the news that Suntory will be starting guided tours through their Yamazaki and Hakushu distilleries. There small, guided tours are aimed at dedicated whisky fans who want to know more than the average tourist.
- Yoichi distillery continues to be the king of distilleries when it comes to visiting. In 2015 alone almost 800.000 people visited the Hokkaido based distillery. As opposed to that a “mere” 300.000 people visited the Miyagikyo distillery even though it has a more convenient location than Yoichi.
- When it comes to international popularity of Japanese whiskies, Suntory with its Hibiki and Yamazaki have dominated the field. However, people are increasingly appreciating products from Nikka, with the Yoichi being more and more popular by the day. This is of no surprise as Nikka is the most prestegious whisky maker in Japan and its products are world class stuff.
- Niche bars, focusing on Japanese whisky are becoming increasingly popular, especially in the United States, we predict that the world will see more of this trend in 2016.
- Dekanta looks forward to continuing to supply our customers with new stock of Japanese Whisky in the coming year and keep you updated on news related to Japanese whisky.