Japanese Gin Meets Karuizawa Whisky In Cask-Aged Gin Release

As if the end of 2017 hasn’t been exciting enough with the recent announcements of the Yamazaki 18 Mizunara Edition 2017 and the Yoichi and Miyagikyo Moscatel-finished single malts, the Kyoto distillery has just released a whisky cask-aged Japanese gin.

The new “Ki Noh Bi” gin is exclusive to the Japanese Isetan department store chain, and will be distributed to stores in Tokyo and Kyoto. Unfortunately, the bottles sold out immediately on Isetan’s online store, and in branches across the country.

There has been no announcement stating that the release will make it overseas, but don’t worry, we have it for you right here.

Why did it sell out so quickly? Well, this isn’t just any old whisky cask-aged gin.

Karuizawa Sherry Cask

The casks used for maturation were ex-sherry casks by the legendary Karuizawa distillery.

Today, Karuizawa bottlings are some of the rarest and most sought-after in the world. What’s more, the distillery equipment was dismantled and the site was shut-down, so you can imagine that acquiring a cask from Karuizawa is no easy task.

Luckily, the UK-based company, Number One Drinks, which owns the Kyoto Distillery also happens to own all the remaining Karuizawa stock and casks. It all fits together nicely, right?

The gin was bottled at 48% and was made in collaboration with the Japanese Noh theatre, adding further prestige to the release.

Noh Theatre

Noh is a classical Japanese musical drama and a major performing art in Japan. The performances have been held since the 14th century.

While this is the first gin to collaborate with Noh theatre performers, creating a unique type of traditional Japanese branding, some of Karuizawa’s most sought-after bottles were created under Noh collaborations. Here are a few to get an idea.

The Karuizawa Noh bottles are some of the rarest, oldest, and tastiest expressions by the distillery, so we expect no less from Kyoto’s new “Ki Noh Bi” expression.


The Kyoto distillery opened last year, in 2016, and has since brought several amazing gins to Japan’s new craft gin scene. This new release seems like the most exciting one yet.

Japanese gin? Japanese whisky? You can have both at the same time.