Whisky Review
Whisky Review
Asaka Distillery

YAMAZAKURA Single Malt Asaka IPA CASK FINISH,features, price and how to buy.


1. Who is the Sasanogawa Brewery?

Sasanogawa Brewery Co.

With a history of more than 250 years as a brewery, the Sasanogawa Brewery obtained a licence to produce whisky in 1946 and has continued to release products such as the YAMAZAKURA series, and in 2016 established the Asaka Distillery as a 250th anniversary project.
This year, it released YAMAZAKURA Single Malt Asaka 2023 EDITION under the name EDITION.

The Asaka Distillery is a distillery that is gaining recognition both in Japan and abroad every year, with the 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.

Established.1765 (Meiwa 2)
Head office1-178, Sasagawa, Koriyama, Fukushima 963-0108
Owned distilleriesAsaka distillery

2.Asaka distillery

Asaka distillery

Location.1-178 Sasagawa, Koriyama-shi, Fukushima
Start of operation1946 (old facilities), distillation restarted in April 2016 (new facilities)

Started operation in 1765
1920 Yamaguchi Sake Brewery Co.
1932 Yamazakura Sake Brewery Limited Partnership established
1946 Whisky production licence obtained.
1966 Sasanokawa Shuzo Kabushiki Kaisha established.
1983 Whisky malt storage completed.
1998 Yamazakura Brewery and Sasanokawa Brewery merge, with Sasanokawa Brewery Ltd. as the surviving company.
2004 (Heisei 16) Whisky stored by Toa Shuzo is taken over by the company.
2005 (Heisei 17) Ichiro’s Malt is launched, planned by Venture Whisky. (The producer column on the back label of the bottle is Sasanogawa Brewery).
2016 (Heisei 26) Asaka distillery starts full-scale operations.

Yamazakura Brewery, founded south of Lake Inawashiro in 1710 (Hoei 7), moved to Koriyama in 1765.
The Yamazakura Brewery was the first to obtain a licence to brew whisky in 1946, when the demand for whisky increased as a national policy during the post-war US 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 whisky production.
In the 1950s and 1960s, during the period of rapid economic growth, the company was known as “Cherry of the North, Toa of the East and Mars of the West”, and together with Toa Brewery and Hombo Brewery, Sasanokawa Brewery’s Cherry Whisky also became popular.
However, as the country entered a period of low growth and changing tastes, Toa was forced to withdraw from the business in 2003, and Sasanokawa took custody of the barrels of original whisky at the distillery in Hanyu.
This was a big help in the release of Ichiro’s Malt, which later became popular worldwide.
Since the post-war period, the distillery has continued to produce whisky 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 existence since the Edo period, and started operations at the end of October 2016 with production facilities and the cooperation of Chichibu distiller Ichiro Hido.

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

Image credit: Asaka Distillery’s official Facebook page.

For information on the Asaka Distillery, see also.

Asaka Distillery | Japanese Wh...
Japanese Whisky Dictionary

3. Product name and photo


4. Features.

This IPA CASK FINISH is made from bourbon barrel first fill, non-peated sake, and aged in Barrel Aged Imperial IPA casks at HOPJAPAN, a brewery in Miyakoji-machi, Fukushima Prefecture. It has a complex taste with a freshness characteristic of hops, moderate bitterness and acidity, and a sweetness derived from Asaka. Non-chill filtered and naturally coloured.

4-1.Tasting notes


Bitter orange, citrus peel, distinctive hop-derived acidity, spicy aroma with cinnamon-like sweetness.


Intense hop acidity, followed by a complex mix of IPA’s distinctive refreshing bitterness and the honey-like sweetness unique to Asaka sake.


The sourness and bitterness disappear first, followed by the sweetness and freshness that slowly fades away through the nose.

4-2. Product specifications

Alcohol content51% (51% alc.)
Liquor typeSingle malt Japanese whisky
Cask typeBourbon barrels, matured in IPA casks
Number of bottles sold538 bottles
RRP13,750 yen (tax included)
Release date28 October 2023

5. Awards received

No awards received at present.

6. Price

6-1. Manufacturer’s suggested retail price

Product nameYAMAZAKURA Single Malt Asaka IPA CASK FINISH
Suggested retail priceTax included: ¥13,750

6-2. Resale price on Mercari

No resale on Merc ari has been confirmed at present. (As of 31/10/2023).

6-3. Sold price on Yahoo Auctions

There are currently no confirmed resales on Yahoo Auctions. (as of 31/10/2023)

6-4. Rakuten, Yahoo Shopping, Amazon

No current confirmed resales on mail order websites (as of *31/10/2023).

6-5.Price offered at BAR Shinkai

At BAR Shinkai, which is operated by this website, it is also offered in small quantities, e.g. 1 glass, 45 ml: 4,290 yen 30 ml: 2,860 yen, 15 ml: 1,430 yen.

Information about “BAR Shinkai”
Japanese Whisky Dictionary operates three BAR Shingai stores in Minato Ward, Tokyo. In addition to the Japanese whiskeys introduced on this site, they also hand...

7. Summary.

The Sasanogawa Brewery has been releasing the Finish series regularly since the days of YAMAZAKURA, but the number of bottles sold has always been small, and this is another release of around 500 bottles.

The standard of the Asaka distillery is the Edition series, but fans will be happy to see many new releases, such as the single cask and this finished model, while making the most of the distillery’s characteristics.

■What is Yamazakura whisky? Please also see our thorough explanation of the taste and types.


■Please also see 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 malt. It is characterized by its low sw...
YAMAZAKURA Single Malt Asaka 202...
Carefully selected 1st fill bourbon barrel non-peated and 50ppm peated originals. Aromatic, rich, nutty, savory canele and vanilla.

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.


櫻井 和人

Born in Tsukuba City, Ibaraki Prefecture
He loves all kinds of luxury goods, and was so impressed by the diversity of craft gin that he decided to become a bartender at the age of 30.
While working as a bartender, he visited BAR Shinkai and joined BAR Shinkai to learn more about the wide variety of Japanese craft whiskeys.
He is now working hard both on site and on the web so that more and more people can enjoy the pleasure of experiencing the best of the finest.

櫻井 和人をフォローする
Japanese Whisky Dictionary