【Review】Amahagan World Malt Edition No.2

Whisky Review
Whisky Review
Nagahama Distillery

The Nagahama Distillery is gaining more and more recognition from both inside and outside Japan, as evidenced by the fact that “Amahagan World Malt Edition No.3 Mizunara Wood Finish” won the highest award (Category Winner) in the Japanese Blended Malt Non-Age category at the 2020 World Whisky Awards (WWA). The reputation of Nagahama Distillery is increasing day by day both in Japan and overseas.

The Nagahama Distillery’s second blended malt whisky, AMAHAGAN World Malt Edition No. 2 Red Wine Wood Finish, was also awarded a gold medal in the same category as No. 3 Mizunara Wood Finish at the 2020 WWA.

The AMAHAGAN blended malt series was created with a focus on blending, the most important step in whisky making, in preparation for future single malt releases. This whisky is based on Edition No.1 and is one that challenges finished by utilizing the character of red wine. The origin of AMAHAGAN is the romanization of Nagahama, read upside down.


1. Manufacturer

Nagahama Roman Beer Co.


Head office location 14-1 Asahi-cho, Nagahama City, Shiga Prefecture  〒526-0056
Distillery Nagahama Distillery

2. Distillery

Nagahama Distillery

Location 14-1 Asahi-cho, Nagahama City, Shiga Prefecture  〒526-0056
Start of operation  First November 2016 

Nagahama Distillery, one of the smallest distilleries in Japan, located in the northern part of Lake Biwa in Shiga Prefecture, is a craft beer brewery and restaurant. Few distilleries, including major whisky makers, have a restaurant, and this distillery is a rare example of a craft whisky distillery.

The unique shape of the pot stills installed here reminds us of the origin of whisky making.
The Nagahama Distillery was originally a rice warehouse from the Edo period, which was renovated and started making beer in 1996. Later, in 2016, equipment for whisky production was introduced. The building has an atrium, with saccharification tanks and distillers on the first floor, and crushers and fermentation tanks on the second floor.
There are two first distillation units and one second distillation unit, and the heating system is an indirect steam alambic type pot still, which is often used for distilling brandy. The heating method is an indirect steam alambic type pot still, which is often used for brandy distillation. Among all the craft distilleries in Japan, only the Nagahama Distillery currently uses this alambic type pot still. It has the advantage of producing a clearer, softer, and less muddy liquor.

From the time of its founding until now, there has been a lot of trial and error. The major changes were in the malt grinding ratio and the fermentation time, which was originally 60 hours, was changed to 72 hours. Also, the number of distillers was increased from two to three. When the distillery was founded, the first distillation vessel was 1,000 liters and the second distillation vessel was 500 liters, but the second distillation vessel has been replaced and all three distillation vessels are now 1,000 liters. In the four years since its establishment, the distillery has undergone many changes, such as following the example of Scottish distilleries and rarely cleaning the regurgitator.



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Japanese Whisky Dictionary

3. Product name and photo

AMAHAGAN World Malt Edition No.2 Red Wine Wood Finish

4. Features

Intersecting wine aroma and malt sweetness

This whisky is a blended malt whisky made by blending malt from the Nagahama distillery and several raw materials purchased from overseas.
The appearance is a glossy brick color with a reddish hue. The flavors of raisins and berries derived from red wine are in perfect harmony with Nagahama’s unique malty taste, and you can feel the refreshing orange peel in the aftertaste. In the mouth, the unique sweetness of the grains spreads throughout, but the moderate astringency tightens the whole. Please enjoy its deep flavor. Non-chill filtered, non-colored.

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)


4-1.Tasting Note

Fragrance Grapes, raisins, berries, cocoa
Taste It has an apricot-like acidity, astringency reminiscent of tannins from red wine barrels, and spiciness that spreads throughout the mouth.
Aftertaste It changes from a soft oaky aroma to a bitter and creamy aftertaste.

4-2. Product Specifications

Alcohol contents 47%
Type Blended Malt
Barrel type
Contents 700ml
Number of Bottles
Suggested Retail Price 5,940yen(5,400yen excluding tax)
Release Date 21th May 2019


2020 WWA Japanese Blended Malt Gold Award, Non-Age Category

6. Price

6-1. Manufacturer’s suggested retail price

Product name AMAHAGAN World Malt Edition No.2 Red Wine Wood Finish
Contents 700ml
Suggested Retail Price 5,940yen(5,400yen excluding tax)

6-2. Resale Price on Mercari

The resale price on Mercari is around 4,500 yen. (*As of 17/3/2021)

6-3. Yahoo auction bidding price

The lowest bid price on Yahoo Auction was 3,250 yen, the highest was 5,400 yen, and the average was 4,970 yen (*Statistics for the past 120 days from 12/3/2021)

6-4. Rakuten, Yahoo Shopping, Amazon

It is also available at mail order sites for around 5,500 yen. (*As of 12/3/2021)

6-5. Price offered at BAR Shinkai

At “Bar Shinkai“, which is operated by this website, we offer a 45ml glass for 1,600 yen.


Information about “BAR Shinkai”
Japanese Whisky Dictionary operates three BAR Shingai stores in Minato Ward, Tokyo. In addition to the Japanese whiskeys...

7. Summary

Five months after the release of “Amahgan World Malt Edition No.1”, “Edition No.2 Red Wine Wood Finish” was released.
Based on the original No.1, this whisky has been finished in red wine barrels for about six months to create a completely different whisky. I hope you will compare this whisky with the previous No.1 and feel the difference in taste.

The Nagahama Distillery won the highest award (Category Winner) in the Japanese Blended Malt Non-Age category for “Amahagan World Malt Edition No.3 Mizunara Wood Finish” at the 2020 WWA (World Whisky Awards). It can be said that Amahagan is one of the distilleries that are gaining recognition worldwide.

The Nagahama Distillery has been releasing three types of single malts aged for three years (Bourbon Cask, Oloroso Sherry Cask, and Quercus Cask) in May 2020, and is planning to release its first three-year-old heavy peated malt in 2021, which is very exciting.
There is no doubt that the blending techniques of the AMAHAGAN series, which has been released since 2018, will continue to be used to the fullest in the future. This is a distillery that continues to try things that can only be achieved by being a craft distillery, so I think it is a promising distillery to keep an eye on.



 【Review】 Amahagan World Malt Ed...
AMAHAGAN World Malt Edition No. 1 is the first in a series of blended malts created with a focus on blending, one of the...
深瀬 悠二

Born in Sapporo, Hokkaido.
In 2005, worked for a major sporting goods sales chain → In January 2019, worked at BAR Shinkai and was drawn in and captivated by the allure of whiskey. The first whiskey he ever drank was Ardbeg 10 years old. Aiming to acquire further knowledge while drinking whiskey almost every day, he obtained the Whiskey Certificate Level 2 and JC Level (Japanese Craft Whiskey).
He wants to express the thoughts of the distiller and convey correct information to the drinkers. He is in charge of editing the web media "Japanese Whisky Dictionary" with a desire to convey the appeal of whisky to as many people as possible.

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