It’s time once again to name our Whisky of the Month. This month, we’ve chosen a whisky that has been incredibly popular with our employees and customers alike since its release and it’s one that we can’t recommend highly enough – The Kanosuke 2021 First Edition.
The Kanosuke Distillery
The Kanosuke Distillery sits on the Fukiagehama Beach on the west coast of the Kagoshima prefecture and it began producing spirit in 2017.
The distillery is made up of a number of unique, two-story high, U-shaped buildings that house all of their top of the line distilling equipment alongside an elegant bar that offers stunning views over the waterfront.
While being a small, Japanese craft distillery, it is clear that Kanosuke has some serious plans for growth. They house not two, but three pot stills, more than you would expect to find in a distillery of this age in Japan, with each still featuring a different neck and line angle.
These three unique pot stills allow the workers at the distillery to produce truly special and distinctive whisky that is somewhat richer than others found around the country. They do this by redistilling liquid from one still in another, and by blending the liquid produced in the different stills together to create whisky that features a sublime array of rich flavours and aromas, all delivered in the smoothest of fashions.
Much like the top quality whisky they have already produced, the scope for growth at the Kanosuke distillery has not gone unnoticed by those in the whisky industry, including some of the top players. In fact, earlier this month, it was announced that Diageo, Scotland’s biggest whisky producer, has invested in Kanosuke.
The investment will help to support the next stage of development at the distillery, allowing for increased production, more new products and the expansion of its international sales and marketing departments.
Yoshitsugu Komasa, the founder and CEO of Kanosuke Distillery, had this to say about the new partnership: “We are proud of our accomplishments to date, including the barrel-ageing and other production techniques developed during Komasa Jyozo’s long history of shochu production and the awards we have won in both domestic and international competitions.”
He continued “Now, with the strong and strategic support from global alcoholic beverages leader Diageo and Distill Ventures through this partnership, we are very happy that we will be able to pursue growing our business further and provide more whisky drinkers in Japan and worldwide with Japanese craft whiskies from Kanosuke Distillery.”
This is a huge step forward for the distillery, but also a significant step for Japanese whisky, with Diageo now joining global giants, Suntory and Nikka, in the industry.
While the agreement sees the founders of Kanosuke retaining the majority ownership and control of the distillery, it is understood that the investment agreement could eventually see a 50-50 joint ownership, subject to the distillery’s performance.
This new partnership, combined with the incredible work Kanosuke has done so far, makes us very excited for what the future holds for this up and coming distillery, but for now, we should sit back and enjoy the incredible whisky they have produced thus far.
The Kanosuke 2021 First Edition is a cask strength single malt that embodies the distillery’s concept of “Mellow Land, Mellow Whisky”. To produce this one, the Master Distillers at Kanosuke used spirit produced from all three pot stills which was then aged in a variety of cask types for a minimum of 3 years before being blended together and bottled.The results are a smooth, flavour-packed expression that brings an incredible array of rich, fruity and smooth aromas and flavours to the table.
Expect raisins, sticky toffee, lime zest and buttered toast on the nose, before the palate arrives with mellow woody tones, tobacco leaves, soft vanilla and just a hint of nutmeg spice. The finish is medium length and it brings burnt orange peel, gentle sea salt and more mellow woody notes.
It’s a truly delicious whisky that is remarkably complex for such a young expression. It’s one of those that will keep you occupied right up until the end of your dram, at which point you’ll be rushing back for another pour to explore further.
It highlights the skill and expertise of those working at the distillery, given they have managed to get so many different unique notes to mingle so well together, and leaves us longing for the next bottling from this exciting Japanese whisky producer.
Hats off to Kanosuke for this one – it’s an incredible creation that every lover of Japanese whisky should get their hands on and that’s why it’s our Whisky of the Month for September.