The World’s Rarest Japanese Whisky – Shirakawa 1958 Single Malt

The Shirakawa Distillery is one of Japan’s lesser known silent distilleries, situated in the Fukushima Prefecture, around 200km North of Tokyo. It was built in 1939 by Daikoku Budoshu, who were also responsible for building the legendary Karuizawa Distillery. They owned the distillery for around 8 years, until, in 1947 it was purchased by Takara Shuzo.

In 1951, Shirakawa became one of the first distilleries in all of Japan to produce malt whisky, however at this time the Single Malt market was almost non-existent, both at home and abroad. The malt whisky produced at Shirakawa was used in “King Blended Whisky”, which achieved moderate success around Japan, but never made it onto the international market. The distillery continued producing malt whisky right up until 1969, however they never released a single malt whisky onto the market.

The distillery was demolished in 2003, and in 2011, Takara Shuzo gifted the land where the distillery once sat to the Japanese government, in order to build emergency housing to accommodate the locals who had been displaced by the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.


Discovering Long Lost Liquid

In 1986, Takara Shuzo Co. acquired the Tomatin Distillery, based in Inverness, Scotland. In doing so, Takara Shuzo became the first ever Japanese owner of a Scottish Distillery.

Tomatin’s Managing Director, Stephen Bremner, took a keen interest in Shirakawa’s pioneering malt whisky making in Japan and set about finding out more. In 2019, he was delighted to discover forgotten Shirakawa 1958 Single Malt Whisky, which had been transferred to ceramic pots and then into stainless steel tanks and moved to Takara’s Takanabe Factory.

Excited and enthralled by his discovery, Bremner began concocting plans for this incredible, rare and precious liquid to be bottled, with the hope of giving whisky fans around the world a chance to own and taste the only Shirakawa Single Malt Whisky ever bottled, and the earliest vintage Japanese whisky ever bottled, at the same time.

The Pinnacle of Old & Rare Japanese Whisky

Just 1,500 bottles of this 49% abv single malt were produced and it delivers a compelling range of notes just waiting to be explored. Takara states that while many production details are not entirely clear, this whisky was produced at a time when “the distillery used predominantly Japanese malted barley and Mizunara oak casks” and this influence becomes apparent as you taste.

Tasting Notes

Waxy oak aromas, sweet fruits, gentle nuts, candied pineapple and orange liqueur, gradually making way for cut grass, honeysuckle, coconut and a waves of spices, floral tones and woody aromas.

Freshly sliced apple, zingy lime curd, soft marzipan and white chocolate evolving into a tropical trail mix with a dusting of cinnamon and ginger.

Fruity aromas, a soft nuttiness, light spice and just a touch of smoke.


Own a Piece of Japanese Whisky History Today

We are delighted to announce that the Shirakawa 1958 is now available to purchase on dekanta. Limited quantities of this iconic whisky remain, with most bottles already being snapped up by collectors and aficionados around the world.

This is a rare opportunity to own your very own piece of Japanese whisky history, and it’s one you don’t want to miss out on. Order online today to secure yours.

Buy Now for $32,000