[Review] Single Malt Saburomaru first The Magician Cask Strength

From 0 to 1. A change and a new step, a transformation, a skill, a new stage are the keywords of Saburomaru 1.
In 2018, Saburoumaru Distillery took a new step forward by replacing its half-century-old homemade mash tun with a state-of-the-art mash tun from Miyake Manufacturing.
The label design is based on Tarot cards (consisting of 22 Major Arcana and 56 Minor Arcana), and the number 1 of the 22 Major Arcana, “THE MAGICIAN” was chosen for the label to signify a new step forward. The first of the 22 Major Arcana, THE MAGICIAN, is used on the label to signify”a new step forward.

 

This cask strength version is a rare whisky, limited to 360 bottles, which were sold by lottery to members only at Wakatsuru Shuzo’s online store “Me and ALC” and to visitors to Saburomaru Distillery on the day of its release on November 29.

1. Manufacturer

Wakatsuru Shuzo Co.

Established 1862
Head office location 208 Saburomaru, Tonami-shi, Toyama 939-1308, Japan
Owned distillerySaburomaru Distillery

2. Distillery

Saburomaru Distillery

Location 208 Saburomaru, Tonami City, Toyama Prefecture 939-1308, Japan
Start of operation 1953 (renovated in 2016)

It is the only distillery in Hokuriku founded in 1952.
In the midst of the post-war rice shortage, they obtained a license to produce whiskey in 1952. Since then, they have been brewing sake in winter Distilling whisky only during the summer Since then, the distillery has been making sake in winter and whiskey in winter. The annual production is 200 bottles. Planning to make 300 in the future.
Since the beginning of the operation, we have been focusing on smoky whisky, using Islay peated malt and recently Peated malt from Toyama Prefecture The whisky is made with Islay peated malt and more recently with It is characterized by the fact that it is not cooled, filtered, or colored at all in order to preserve its natural flavor.

In 2018, we installed the latest mash tun from Miyake Manufacturing.
In 2019, we collaborated with a local company, Oigo Manufacturing, to develop a cast pod still ZEMON in 2019.
In 2020, one wooden vat fermenter will be installed.

The main difference between ZEMON and other distilleries is the world’s first cast pod still. ZEMON  is the first distillery in the world to use a cast pod still.
There are three major features.
(1) The casting method makes it possible to mold the product with a mold, which allows for short delivery times. In addition, it is possible to have sufficient wall thickness at low cost, which is expected to increase the service life of the body.
(2) Various liquor quality is realized by free molding by casting. In addition, it is possible to replace only worn-out parts or expand functions by unitizing each part.
(3) Made from a copper-tin alloy that contains about 90% copper and 8% tin. Tin is a high-grade metal that is traded at about three times the price of copper.
Tin has been used since ancient times to mellowing the taste of alcohol. It is said that tin is a high-grade metal that sells for about three times the price of copper, and has been used for liquor containers and shochu coolers. ZEMON contributes to the production of high quality spirits through the dual effects of copper and tin. to the production of high quality spirits. It has been used for sake vessels and shochu coolers.
Reference: Wakatsuru Sake Brewery official website

See also this for more information on the Saburomaru Distillery. ↓

3. Product name and photo

Single Malt Saburomaru first The Magician Cask Strength 

4. Features.

53PPM, heavy duty peaked
The saccharification process using a new mash tun made by Miyake Manufacturing will result in a smoother, mellower sake with less miscellaneous flavors.
Two yeasts, ale yeast and whiskey yeast, are used, and hollow fermentation is carried out for three days. The malt used is hebly peated malt (53 ppm).
While retaining the strong peat and maltiness that makes this so smoky, it also expresses the acidity of the fruit. The taste is well-defined.

The cask strength version is 63% alcohol by volume, and the regular version is 48% alcohol by volume, which makes this bottle more powerful and richer in malt than the regular version.

*Limited to 360 bottles.

4-1. Tasting Notes

AromaRich vanilla, syrup, strong peat, bonfire, fresh fruit
TasteVanilla sweetness followed by earthy and smoky peat, ripe apples, lactic acid mellowness
AftertasteOaky to smoky aftertaste

4-2. Product Specifications

Alcohol content63% 
alcohol categorySingle malt Japanese whiskey
Barrel typeBourbon barrels
Contents700ml
Number of bottles soldLimited to 360 bottles
Suggested retail price16,500 yen (tax included)
Release dateNovember 29, 2021

5. Awards

No awards have been received at this time.

6. Price

6-1. Manufacturer’s suggested retail price

Product nameSingle Malt Saburo Maru 1 THE MAGICIAN Cask Strength
Volume700ml
Suggested retail price16,500 yen (tax included)

6-2. Resale price on Mercari

Currently, there seems to be no resale price on Mercari. (*As of December 24, 2021)

6-3. Sold price on Yahoo Auction

There are currently no items for sale on Yahoo Auction. (*As of December 24, 2021)

6-4. Rakuten, Yahoo Shopping, Amazon

There seems to be no sales on mail order sites at present. (*As of December 24, 2021)

6-5. Price offered at BAR Shinkai

At “Bar Shinkai” which is operated by this website, we offer 1 glass, 45ml: 4,950 yen 30ml: 3,300 yen, 15ml: 1,650 yen.  We also offer it in small quantities such as.

7.Summary

Saburoumaru Distillery was reborn after a crowdfunding campaign in 2016 and renovation work in 2017 with the funds from the campaign.
Since then, the distillery has been upgrading year by year, with the introduction of a new mash tun in 2018, a new pot still in 2019, and a wooden vat fermenter in 2020. The quality of the sake produced seems to be getting better every year, so the expectations are immeasurable.
I’m looking forward to seeing how the single malt Saburoumaru will taste when it is released next year.

In addition, Mr. Inagaki, the blender and manager of Sabromaru Distillery, started a bottlers business called “T&T TOYAMA” together with Mr. Shimono of the single malt mail-order company Moltoyama. It is attracting a lot of attention as the world’s first Japanese whisky bottlers business.
When I visited the distillery, I talked to him, and he was a very active person with a strong passion for monozukuri. I’m looking forward to seeing what he has in store for us next.

Please check out the other articles about Saburoumaru Distillery.

Lastly: Recommended Books on Japanese Whisky

If you want to learn more about Japanese whisky, which is a global trend, we highly recommend these books.

(1).Whisky Galore Vol.29 December 2021 issue

In the December 2021 issue of Whisky Galore, published by the Whisky Culture Research Institute, we report on 11 Japanese craft distilleries, including some that are open to the public for the first time, under the title of “Japanese Whisky Craft Frontline,” the first of three consecutive issues. Why did the popularity of Japanese whiskey and the craft boom occur? We will examine with interviews. Chichibu Distillery / Chichibu No.2 Distillery / Mars Shinshu Distillery / Mars Tsunuki Distillery / Kanosuke Distillery / Hioki Distillery / Ontake Distillery / Osuzuyama Distillery / Kaikyo Distillery / Hanyu Distillery / Konosu Distillery

(2). Japanese Whiskey as an Education for Business

This is a book written by Mamoru Tsuchiya, a world-famous whisky critic and representative of the Whisky Culture Research Institute, titled ” Japanese Whisky as a Culture that Works for Business. “
The book covers the basics of whisky, the introduction of whisky to Japan, the birth of Japanese whisky, advertising strategies and the rise of Japanese whisky, and the current rise of craft distilleries. This is a book that summarizes Japanese whisky in a very easy to understand way.

(3). Whisky and I (Masataka Taketsuru)

Masataka Taketsuru, the founder of Nikka Whisky, devoted his life to brewing whisky in Japan. This is a revised and reprinted version of the autobiography of a man who simply loved whiskey and talked about himself. The book vividly depicts the days when he went to Scotland alone to study as a young man and overcame many hardships to complete Japanese whiskey, as well as his companion, Rita.

(4). A Letter of Challenge from a New Generation Distillery

Launching in 2019. With the world experiencing an unprecedented whiskey boom, what were the managers of craft distilleries thinking and what were their thoughts as they took on the challenge of making whiskey? This book tells the stories of 13 craft distillery owners, including Ichiro Hido of Venture Whiskey, famous for his Ichirose Malt, who inspired the birth of craft distilleries in Japan.

(5). Whiskey Rising

This is the Japanese version of Whisky Risng, published in the US in 2016, with much updated content. Not only does it describe the history of Japanese whiskey in detail, but it also includes data on all the distilleries in Japan, including the craft distilleries that have been founded in recent years. The book also includes descriptions of the legendary bottles that have been released, as well as information on bars where Japanese whiskey can be found.

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