[Review] Asaka 2017 5 Year Old Double Barrel Chichibu Whisky Festival Bottling 2022

Two types of Azumi Distillery’s bourbon-barrel originals aged for five years, the so-called Double cask. bottled at cask strength. 2017’s original bottle is from the Azumi Distillery’s First year of business The original sake was brewed in the
This bottle allows you to fully enjoy the strengths of both the double cask and the 5-year aging process.

This whiskey was bottled and sold by lottery for the Chichibu Whiskey Festival 2022.

1. Maker

Sasanogawa Brewery Co.

Establishment1765
Head office location1-178 Sasakawa, Koriyama-shi, Fukushima 963-0108
Owned DistilleriesAsaka Distillery

2. Distillery

Asaka Distillery

Location1-178 Sasagawa, Koriyama City, Fukushima Prefecture
Start of operation1946 (old facility), distillation resumed in April 2016 (new facility)

Began operation in 1765.
1920 Yamaguchi Sake Brewery Co.
1932 Yamazakura Sake Brewery Limited Partnership established
1946 Manufacture whiskey.

1966 Sasanogawa Brewing Company established.
1983 Completed construction of whisky malt storage facility.
1998 Yamazakura Brewery and Sasanokawa Brewery merge, with Sasanokawa Brewery Co.
2004 Receives stored whiskey from Toa Shuzo.
2005 Ichiro’s Malt, planned by Venture Whisky, is released. (The manufacturer column on the label on the back of the bottle is Sasanokawa Shuzo.)
2016  Asaka Distillery started full-scale operations.

Yamazakura Brewery, founded in 1710 south of Lake Inawashiro, moved to Koriyama in 1765.
This Yamazakura Brewery was the first to obtain a license to brew whiskey in 1946, when the demand for whiskey increased as a national policy during the postwar American military occupation.
The shortage of rice during and after the war made it extremely difficult to brew sake, and the influx of Western culture after the war was also a factor in the company’s commitment to whiskey production.
In the 1950s and 1960s, during the period of high economic growth, Sasanokawa Brewery’s ” Cherry Whisky ” gained popularity along with Toa Brewery and Hombo Brewery, being called “Cherry of the North, Toa of the East, Mars of the West”.
However, with the low growth and changing tastes, Toa was forced to withdraw from the business in 2003, and Sasanokawa took care of the barrels of the original whiskey at the distillery in Hanyu.
This was a big help for the release of Ichiro’s Malt, which later became popular worldwide.
Since the postwar period, the distillery has continued to produce whiskey in small quantities, and currently uses two types: a Scotch type and a malt type imported from Kentucky.
The Asaka distillery is located in the Sasanokawa Sake Brewery, a sake brewery that has been in operation since the Edo period.

The pot stills look good against the old-fashioned white plaster walls.

Image Exhibit: Asaka Distillery Official Facebook

For more information about Azumi Distillery, please visit here.

3. Product name and photo

Asaka 2017 5 Year Old Double Barrel Chichibu Whiskey Festival Bottling 2022

4. Features

Asaka Distillery Bourbon Barrel Double Cask

Single malt Japanese whiskey made from two first-fill bourbon barrels from Asaka Distillery, aged for five years. It is bottled as-is to preserve the original aroma and flavor of the barrels, so-called “original cask strength. It is non-chill filtered (non-cooled filtered) and naturally colored (no coloring), so in rare cases sediment or turbidity may appear due to changes in storage temperature, but this is of product origin and does not affect the quality or other aspects of the product.

Quote: From the back of the label

4-1. Tasting Notes

Aroma

Pungent odor of alcohol, rich sweet aroma derived from oak, pepper and other spicy notes.

Taste

Creamy, rich sweetness like vanilla and honey, then fruitiness. Then spiciness becomes noticeable, with a bitter note reminiscent of bitter chocolate at the end.

Aftertaste

Oak-derived sweetness and spiciness continue pleasantly, leaving a bitterness at the end.

4-2. Product Specifications

Alcohol content62%
By LiquorSingle Malt Japanese Whiskey
Cask typeBourbon cask
Content volume700ml
Number of bottles soldLimited to 475 bottles
Suggested Retail Price14,850 yen (tax included)
Release DateMarch 18, 2022 Lottery starts

5. Awards

No awards have been received at this time.

6. Price

6-1. Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price

Product nameAsaka 2017 5 Year Old Double Barrel Chichibu Whiskey Festival Bottling 2022
Capacity700ml
Suggested Retail PriceTax included: 14,850 yen

6-2. Resale price on Mercari

The resale price on Mercari is Around 23,500 yen to 55,000 yen The number of the company’s shares is as follows. (*As of April 11, 2022)

6-3. Yahoo Auction Sold Price

Sold prices on Yahoo! Auctions are Lowest 39,501 yen, highest 50,300 yen, average 45,575 yen. (*As of April 11, 2022)

6-4. Rakuten, Yahoo Shopping, Amazon

The mail-order site does not carry the product. (*As of  April 11, 2022)

6-5. Price offered at BAR Shinkai

At BAR Shinkai, which is operated by this website, we have 1 glass, 45ml: 4,620 yen 30ml: 3,080 yen, 15ml: 1,540 yen We also offer small quantities such as

7. Summary

The stinging aroma of alcohol derived from cask strength is the first impression, but the swirling process gradually opens up the sweet aroma. The aroma is slightly spicy and sweet with a hint of spicy aroma and the pungent odor of alcohol. As soon as you take a sip, the mouth is immediately filled with an intense sweetness that reminds you of bourbon barrels. Although the sweetness tends to overpower the spicy flavor, you can also taste the spicy flavor and creamy body. The strong sweetness is followed by a bitter taste reminiscent of bitter chocolate. When water is added, the alcohol angle fades away and a strong sweetness reminiscent of bourbon barrels emerges.

Enjoy it straight when you want to feel the stimulation of alcohol and the dry bitter change from sweetness, or twist it up when you want to enjoy the sweetness to the fullest.

Limited to 475 bottles, this is a very rare bottle with limited availability, but it is available at BAR Shinkai. We hope you will enjoy the taste.

It is a bottle that makes us think that we cannot take our eyes off the ever-evolving whisky of Azumi Distillery in the future.

Please check out our other articles on Yamazakura.

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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