[Review] YAMAZAKURA Single Malt Japanese Whisky Asaka 2024 EDITION

Whisky Review
Whisky Review
Asaka Distillery

Review of YAMAZAKURA Single Malt Japanese Whisky Asaka 2024 EDITION from Sasanokawa Shuzo. Features, price, and how to purchase.


1. Who is the Sasanokawa Shuzo?

Sasanokawa Shuzo Co.

With a history of over 250 years as a sake brewery, Sasanokawa Shuzo obtained a license to produce whisky in 1946, continued to release products such as the YAMAZAKURA series, and established the Asaka Distillery in 2016 as part of its 250th anniversary project.

The Asaka Distillery has been gaining recognition both domestically and internationally year after year, with Yamazakura Blended Malt Japanese Whisky Asaka Sherry Wood Reserve winning the world’s highest award in the Blended Malt Whisky category at the World Whisky Awards (WWA) 2022.

Establishment 1765 (Meiwa 2)
Head office 1-178 Sasagawa, Koriyama-shi, Fukushima 963-0108
Owned distilleries Azumi Distillery

2. Asaka Distillery

Address 1-178 Sasagawa, Koriyama-shi, Fukushima
Start of operation 1946 (old facility), resumed distillation in April 2016 (new facility)

1765 (Meiwa 2) Start of operation
1920 (Taisho 9) Establishment of Yamaguchi Shuzo Co.
1932 (Showa 7) Establishment of Yamazakura Shuzo Limited Partnership
1946 (Showa 21) Obtained license to manufacture whisky
1966 (Showa 41) Establishment of Sasanokawa Shuzo Co., Ltd.
1983 (Showa 58) Completed construction of whisky malt storage facility
1998 (Heisei 10) Yamazakura Shuzo and Sasanokawa Shuzo merge, with Sasanokawa Shuzo Co., Ltd.
2004 (Heisei 16) Receives stored whisky from Toa Shuzo.
2005 (Heisei 17) “Ichiro’s Malt” is released, planned by Venture Whisky. (The manufacturer column on the back label of the bottle is Sasanokawa Shuzo.)
2016 (Heisei 26) Asaka Distillery starts full-scale operations.

Yamazakura Shuzo, founded in 1710 south of Lake Inawashiro, moved to Koriyama in 1765.
This Yamazakura Shuzo was the first to obtain a license to brew whisky in 1946, when the demand for whisky increased as a national policy during the postwar American military occupation.

The shortage of rice during and after the war made sake brewing extremely difficult, and the influx of Western culture after the war was also a factor in the company’s commitment to whisky making.

In the 1950s and 1960s, during the period of high economic growth, the company was known as “Cherry of the North, Toa of the East, and Mars of the West,” and along with Toa Shuzo and Hombo Shuzo, Sasanogawa Shuzo’s “Cherry Whisky” also gained popularity.
However, due to low growth and changing tastes, Toa Shuzo was forced to withdraw from the business in 2003, and Sasanokawa Shuzo took over the barrels of the original whisky at the Hanyu Distillery.

This was a big help in the release of “Ichiro’s Malt”, which later became popular worldwide.

The distillery has been producing whisky in small quantities since the postwar period, and currently uses two types: a Scotch type and a malt type imported from Kentucky.

The Asaka Distillery is located in the “Sasanokawa Shuzo” a shuzo that has been in operation since the Edo period, and began operations at the end of October 2016 with production facilities and the cooperation of Chichibu Distillery’s Ichiro Hido.

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

Image source: Asaka Distillery’s official Facebook

For more information about Asaka Distillery, please visit

Asaka Distillery | Japanese Wh...
Japanese Whisky Dictionary

3. Product name and photo

YAMAZAKURA Single Malt Japanese Whisky ASAKA 2024EDITION
Yamazakura Single Malt Japanese Whisky ASAKA 2024Edition

4. Characteristics

Based on our non-peated distillate, we carefully selected and blended several types of peated distillate and other types of distillate produced at the Asaka Distillery. The result is a refreshing, gorgeous aroma with a clean sweetness that is typical of the Asaka Distillery. *Excerpt from the back of the label

4-1. Tasting Notes

Aroma Pongashi, lemon with honey, citrus with acidity
Taste Dried plum, lime, plum, cider
Aftertaste Aftertaste of sake residual, acidity is gone, leaving sweetness and a hint of peat.

4-2. Product Specifications

Alcohol content 50% alcohol by volume
Alcohol category Single malt Japanese whisky
Cask type Not disclosed
Content Volume 700ml
Number of bottles sold Limited quantity
Suggested retail price 12,100 yen (tax included)
Release date May 2024

5. Awards

No awards received at this time.

6. Price

6-1. Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price

Product name YAMAZAKURA Single Malt Japanese Whisky Asaka 2024 EDITION
Capacity 700ml
Suggested Retail Price Tax included: 12,100 yen

6-2. Resale price on Mercari

Resale price on Mercari is around the regular price ~13,000 yen. (*As of May 29, 2024)

6-3. Sold price on Yahoo! Auction

Sold price on Yahoo! Auction could not be confirmed. (*Statistics for the past 180 days from May 29, 2024)

6-4. Rakuten, Yahoo Shopping, Amazon

Fixed prices were confirmed for sales on mail order sites. (*As of May 29, 2024)

6-5. Prices offered at BAR Shinkai

At “BAR Shinkai” operated by this site, it is offered in small quantities such as 1 glass, 45ml: 3,960 yen 30ml: 2,640 yen, 15ml: 1,320 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

The taste was slightly different from the previous vintage, with the acidity more vibrant and fresh compared to the 2023. The acidity is more lively and fresh, and the sweetness, which is typical of Azumi, opens up with the aroma when the distillate is watered down.

■Please check out other articles about Asaka Distillery.

[Review] YAMAZAKURA World Blende...
A world blended whisky with the Asaka distillery as the key malt and the five major regions of the world as the original...
[Review] YAMAZAKURA Single Malt ...
A single malt Japanese whisky made primarily from bourbon barrel non-peated base whisky. Accentuated subtle peat aroma. ...

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 whisky 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 Whisky 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 whisky 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 whisky, 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 whisky boom, what were the managers of craft distilleries thinking and what were their thoughts as they took on the challenge of making whisky? This book tells the stories of 13 craft distillery owners, including Ichiro Hido of Venture Whisky, 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 whisky 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 whisky can be found.

Misato Ushiwata

Born in Fukushima Prefecture.
She attended a university in Tokyo, where she studied brewing and other sciences while translating articles for the "Japanese Whisky Dictionary".

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