2022 Fall Gift Guide
Summer has officially come to a close and now the fall is starting to come into full swing. As the weather cools in Japan, the trees begin to display striking shades of red, orange and yellow. Japanese maples are just one of the trees that will showcase colorful leaves, the viewing of which is a cultural pastime in Japan, known as momiji-gari. With the fall season being filled with friends, family and celebration now is a great time to prepare for fall get-togethers by stocking up on the finest bottles of Japanese Whisky.
In order to help you on this mission, the team has put together a Fall Gift Guide that offers twenty fantastic expressions that are each a sure winner.Shop Gift Guide
Yamazaki 12 Year Old
A staple of Japanese whisky-lovers the world over, the Yamazaki 12 is one of the most delicious and iconic expressions ever produced. Yamazaki is Japan’s oldest distillery, creating exceptional bottlings since way back in 1923. Since then, they have worked to perfect their craft and have released some world beating whiskies along the way. The Yamazaki 12 is one such expression and it has picked up a number of prestigious awards for its excellence, as well as delighting noses and palates of casual whisky-drinkers and aficionados alike the world over. A gift that is guaranteed to please.
Hibiki 17 Year Old
The Hibiki range is one that everyone in the whisky world has heard of. It has made some real waves in the industry over the past two decades with its harmonious array of aromas and flavours that deliver a truly unique tasting experience and the expressions have picked up a number of awards throughout the years, including top prizes at the World Whiskies Awards. The 17 Year Old sits in the middle of the range, between the 12 and 21 year olds, and it is one of the most popular Japanese whiskies of all time. Created by Suntory’s Master Blenders, it’s smooth, elegant, moreish and the perfect whisky to keep you warm this fall.
Asaka Aoi Edition
The Asaka distillery is one of Japan’s newest and they have already caught the attention of avid whisky drinkers everywhere with their first single malt expressions. The Asaka The First was a huge success and a whisky we enjoyed thoroughly, so when we got the chance to bottle a cask of Asaka single malt to celebrate our 5th anniversary, we grabbed it with both hands. The award-winning Asaka Aoi Edition was matured in a single first-fill bourbon cask that has imparted a range of light fruity and vallinin notes onto the creamy, gentle liquid. Featuring our founder, Makiyo Masa, on the label and limited to just 343 bottles upon release, it’s a collectible expression and a unique gift.
Kanosuke Modern Malt 2021
This outstanding single cask whisky from the fast rising Kanosuke Distillery was distilled in 2018 and matured in an ex-IPA cask before bottling in 2021. The cask has had profound effects on the young, but flavour packed spirit, imparting a dark mahogany colour onto the liquid along with aromas of burnt orange peel, charred oak, fresh citrus and much more. It’s a fine whisky and one that is hard to find on today’s market, making it a must have for your collection.
Mars The Lucky Cat “Luna”
The Mars Lucky Cat bottlings are a series of World Blended Whiskies, created using malt and grain whisky from Japan and Scotland. They have developed a cult following in recent times thanks to the impressive array of tasting notes on offer, the limited nature of their bottlings and, of course, the elegantly designed, stunning cat labels. This one was finished in Manzanilla and Oloroso sherry casks, resulting in a rich, elegant expression that brings hints of marmalade, toasted almonds, birthday cake and dry oak. It’s yet another exquisite bottling from Mars and one that any fan of their whisky should try.
Yamazaki Limited Edition 2022
Last year, Suntory revitalized the long-lost Yamazaki Limited Editions series with the release of the Yamazaki Limited Edition 2021, bringing back the good times. This year, they kept the ball rolling with the release of the Yamazaki Limited Edition 2022. This one will focus heavily on the use of top quality Mizunara wood for maturing, resulting in a creamy, aromatic expression that delivers a lively, fruity tasting experience backed up by a unique and elegant array of spices. It’s smooth, flavour-packed and incredibly moreish – what more could you want?
Hibiki Blossom Harmony Limited Release 2022
The Hibiki Blossom Harmony 2021 brought more of the same well-balanced, perfectly crafted whisky that we are used to from the brand, but with a twist – the blenders at Suntory gave Hibiki liquid a Sakura cask finish, allowing us to explore their fine craftsmanship from a completely new angle. For the new 2022 release, they have taken the same approach and, as expected, it’s smooth, gentle and moreish, with the light fruits and creaminess of Hibiki whisky merging seamlessly with the gentle floral tones and light spices imparted by the Sakura cask. The end result is a unique, memorable drinking experience and a whisky that is well worth telling your friends about.
Suntory Ao Smoky Pleasure World Blended Whisky
Merging the unique flavor characteristics of five regions from around the world creates whisky with a personality all its own and the inclusion of smoky spirit in this one adds an extra layer for you to explore. The whiskies are hand-selected by Suntory chief blender Shinji Fuwa to make the best use of the individual flavor profiles offered by each. The combination creates a complex whisky that delivers new perspectives, which vary depending on the temperature of the liquid, and the manner in which it is enjoyed. Suntory Ao Smoky Pleasure offers whisky enthusiasts a unique experience that utilises the distinguishing features, and power of, Suntory’s acclaimed distilleries combined.
Yamazakura Asaka Sherry Wood Reserve
This superb expression from the up and coming Asaka Distillery was created by expertly blending sherry matured malt whiskies together, resulting in a smooth and delicious whisky. It delivers a delightful array of fruity and woody notes, backed up by building peat smoke. But don’t just take our word for it, this outstanding expression was just named World’s Best Blended Malt at the 2022 World Whiskies Awards. A real winner.
Ichiro’s Malt Chichibu Paris Edition 2021
A stunning 2021 Chichibu single malt release that was created by intricately blending eight casks that have been matured for over 7 years. They are 5 casks from 2013 – one peated first fill Bourbon, one Port cask and three virgin oak casks, and 3 casks from 2014 – a red wine cask and two casks of Chibidaru Quarter Cask. The whisky brings a careful balance of aromas and flavours to the table, with a crescendo of floral notes and gentle fruits leading to an array of wonderful spices and delicate peat that last on the finish. It’s a full-bodied whisky that is one of our favourite Chichibu releases in recent years, and with so many incredible expressions coming from Japan’s fastest growing distillery, that’s saying something! With only 1,847 bottles produced, this one is worth getting your hands on while you can.
Yamazaki 18 Year Old
Many consider this fine whisky to be the pinnacle of the Yamazaki core range, and we’d find it hard to argue with that. Rich, smooth and fruity, with gentle spices lingering in the background, it’s a complex and masterfully crafted expression that brings everything you would expect from a premium whisky and then some. If you’re looking to really treat that special someone in your life, you can’t go wrong with the Yamazaki 18 Year Old.
Nikka Taketsuru 17 Year Old Pure Malt
A world-beating Pure Malt expression from whisky legends Nikka that brings an incredible array of rich, fruity aromas to the table that combine perfectly with building oak and bitter cacao to create a drinking experience that you won’t forget in a hurry. Nikka are masters of creating well-rounded, full-bodied and truly delicious expressions and the Taketsuru 17 Year Old Pure Malt is up there with the best of them. In fact, this whisky is so good that it has been named “Best Blended Malt Whisky” at the World Whiskies Awards on a number of occasions.
Kavalan Solist Oloroso Sherry Single Cask Strength
The Kavalan Distillery has picked up a plethora of awards throughout the years for their magnificent work in whisky. They have produced some of the finest expressions to come out of Asia and have to be regarded as one of the best distilleries in the world today. Matured in top quality Spanish oloroso sherry casks, this special edition Kavalan Solist bottling brings everything you would expect and more. It is a naturally smooth and rich whisky with a complex character. It’s clean and complex with multi-layers of dried fruit, nuttiness and spices with some marzipan and vanilla touches to it as well. A superb creation.
Kanosuke 2021 Second Edition
Following on from the superb Kanosuke 2021 First Edition, released earlier this year, the Kanosuke 2021 Second Edition is another incredible creation from this exciting young distillery. Their first single malt was lapped up by whisky fans around the world thanks to its smooth and mellow character. Now, the Kanosuke 2021 Second Edition follows on in style. It too was created with liquid from all three of Kanosuke’s stills, but this one has been matured mostly in ex-bourbon casks. This has resulted in a somewhat sweeter, fruiter expression that brings much more vanilla and oak spice than we got in the First Edition. It’s a fantastic release and one that gives us another peek behind the doors of the Kanouske distillery.
Nikka From The Barrel
The Nikka From The Barrel blended whisky is a stunning expression, at a fantastic price point, that has rapidly grown in popularity in recent times. Today, it is a favourite of whisky fans the world over, bringing a smooth and complex array of notes to the table, offering tremendous value for money. It was created from malt and grain distilled at Nikka’s Yoichi and Miyagikyo distilleries, combined with some liquid from their Scottish Ben Nevis distillery, that was then aged in a mix of bourbon and sherry casks. The Nikka From The Barrel is a warming, smooth, fruity and slightly spicy world blended whisky that is perfect for enjoying with family and friends.
Hibiki 21 Year Old
Another world-beating expression from Hibiki, this one is perhaps the most impressive in the entire range. It delivers a harmonious range of elegant, fruity flavours in the smoothest possible fashion, resulting in a drinking experience that won’t be forgotten in a hurry. The sheer quality of this brilliant whisky is highlighted by the fact it has now won “World’s Best Blended Whisky” at the prestigious World Whiskies Awards on 6 separate occasions. One of the best whiskies ever made? Definitely.
Hakushu 18 Year Old
It’s hard to pick a winner from Hakushu’s varied range, but the 18 Year Old has to be right up there. This is a whisky that is so smooth, well-balanced and complex that it comes incredibly close to perfection. Created from crisp, refreshing spirit that has been aged in a mix of sherry and bourbon casks, under the watchful eye of the Hakushu Master Distiller, it brings rich fruits, citrus, honey, apricots and sweet dark chocolate to the table, all backed up by a gentle whiff of peat smoke. An absolute delight from nose to finish.
Matsui Mizunara Cask Single Malt
This fine single malt whisky comes from one of Japan’s newest up and coming whisky producers – Matsui. The owner’s of the Kurayoshi distillery burst onto the scene in 2019 with a number of exciting whiskies, but it is this non-age-statement Matsui Mizunara Cask expression that has been making waves and has been lauded by fans and critics alike. This fine whisky had already picked up a Double Gold award at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2019, before being awarded “Best Japanese Single Malt” in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2020, and it’s really no surprise. A superb gift!
Mars Tsunuki Single Malt 2022 Edition
The Mars Tsunuki Distillery is Hombo Mars second active production plant, after Shinshu, founded in 2016. Since then, the distillery has released a couple of single malt whiskies, but has predominately been used for ageing whiskies produced at Shinshu. This 2022 single malt was distilled and matured at Tsunuki, signalling that the distillery may be ready to begin releasing more of their own single malts. It’s a well balanced and flavourful expression that brings lots of sweet fruits that combine perfectly with earthy notes to create a drinking experience to remember. A fine whisky indeed and one that leaves us excited for more from this relatively young Japanese distillery.
Shizuoka Prologue W Single Malt
The Shizuoka Prologue W is the follow-up to the distillery’s hugely successful Prologue K. It was created in the distillery’s rare wood-fired still which has added a unique level of smokiness to the otherwise fruity and light spirit as a result of the ex-bourbon wood maturation. It’s another fine whisky from this hugely promising distillery and one that we would highly recommend getting your hands on while you can.
Ki No Bi Cask Aged 16th Edition
This delicious KI NO BI expression from the brilliant Kyoto distillery was created using a variation on the 11 botanical, 6 element recipe of the classic KI NO BI dry gin. It brings elegant fruits of summer backed up by gentle herbal tones, with just a smidgen of spice creeping in towards the finish. This Ki No Bi Cask aged is a 16th Edition bottle. This is a unique and difficult to find bottle, so grab yours while you can!
Akkeshi “Shosho” Blended Whisky 2021
This brilliant whisky from the Akkeshi Distillery is a World Blended expression that combines some of the finest malts and grains from distilleries around the world in one bottle. It delivers a superb tasting experience on the nose, palate and finish and all of the notes are delivered in the smoothest possible fashion. But don’t take out word for it – the Shosho was named World’s Best Blended Whisky at the 2022 World Whiskies Awards.
Single Malt Sakurao 1st Release Cask Strength
The Single Malt Sakurao 1st Release is the distilleries first single malt release. It’s a cask strength expression that was distilled and matured on-site at the seaside distillery. It comes in at 54% ABV and aims to give drinkers a deeper understanding of the distillery’s character.
It’s a complex expression that brings a delicate balance of sweet, smokey and salty notes. On the nose you will be treated to ripe grapes, oranges, bitter chocolate and gentle vanilla, before the palate arrives with a subtle smokiness, more vanilla, a number of unique spices and milk chocolate that melts across your tongue. The finish is long, with a deep sweetness in the form of mingling citrus fruits that are joined by woody tones, building smoke and a breeze of salty sea air. It’s a truly accomplished expression and one that the distillery have clearly taken their time creating.