Whisky Review
Whisky Review
Saburomaru Distillery

The 5TH BATCH of the FAR EAST OF PEAT series is the third in a series of exchanges whiskies with the Saburomaru Distillery.

This time, however, it is a blended malt whisky, blending selected Scotch malts with the 2019 production of Saburomaru Hebrew Peated Malt, without the original exchange with a domestic distillery.

Until now, the two varieties have been sold simultaneously, but this time it will be sold as a single 5TH BATCH, limited to 7,000 bottles.

It was sold exclusively to visitors to the Saburomaru Distillery from March 30, 2023, and was also distributed and sold to general liquor stores.


1. Manufacturer

Wakatsuru Shuzo Co., Ltd.

Established 1862
Head office location 208 Saburomaru, Tonami, Toyama 939-1308
Owned distillery Saburomaru Distillery

2. Distillery

Saburomaru Distillery

Address 208, Saburomaru, Tonami city, Toyama 939-1308
Start of operation 1953 (renovated in 2016)

The only distillery in Hokuriku, established in 1952.
Amidst the postwar rice shortage, the distillery obtained a license to produce whisky in 1952. Since then, they have been brewing sake in winter and distilling whisky during the rest of the year. They make 200 bottles of whisky a year. Plans are underway to make 300 bottles in the future.
Since the beginning, they have been focusing on smoky whisky, using Islay peated malt and recently peated malt from Toyama Prefecture. To preserve the natural flavor, no cooling filtration or coloring is used.

In 2018, we installed a state-of-the-art mash tun from Miyake Seisakusho.
In 2019, we collaborated with a local company, Oigo Seisakusho, to develop a cast pod still, “ZEMON”.
In 2020, one wooden vat fermenter was installed.

The main difference from other distilleries is the use of “ZEMON”, the world’s first cast pod still.

There are three major features.
(1) The casting method enables molding with a mold for quick delivery. Also, it is possible to add sufficient wall thickness at a low cost, which increases the service life of the bottle.
(2) Free molding by the casting method allows for various types of sake quality. Also, by unitizing the parts, it is possible to replace only worn parts or expand the functions.
(3) Made of a copper-tin alloy containing 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 mellow the taste of sake and has been used in sake vessels and shochu coolers. ZEMON contributes to the production of high quality spirits through the dual effects of copper and tin.
Reference: Wakatsuru Shuzo official website

See also ↓ for information on the Sabromaru Distillery.


3. Product name and photo



4. Characteristics

A blend of selected Scotch malts with 2019 production Saburomaru Hebrew peated malt distilled in a cast iron pot still “ZEMON”. Using only malt base alcohol, we aimed for a balanced and pleasant drinking experience with the strong, smoky charm of the Saburomaru Distillery as the star of the show.

Reference: FAR EAST OF PEAT 5TH BATCH Blended Malt Whisky

4-1. Tasting Notes

Aroma Mild peat aroma, sweet aroma reminiscent of raisins and honey.
Taste Complex taste with moderate sweetness, saltiness and bitterness. Slightly oily.
Aftertaste Peaty on the nose with a long, lingering bitterness.

4-2. Product Specifications

Alcohol content 50%
Distillation Blended malt whisky
Cask type
Content Volume 700ml
Number of bottles sold Limited to 7,000 bottles
Suggested retail price 7,260 yen (tax included)
Release date March 30, 2023

5. Awards

No awards received at this time.

6. Price

6-1. Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price

Product Name

Volume 700ml  
Suggested Retail Price 7,260 yen (including tax)  

6-2. Resale price on Mercari

Resale prices on Mercari range from 7,200 yen to 10,999 yen. (*As of May 9, 2023)

6-3. Sold prices on Yahoo! Auctions

Sold price on Yahoo! Auctions: Lowest 4,500 yen Highest 8,350 yen Average 6,174 yen (*As of May 9, 2023)

6-4. Rakuten, Yahoo Shopping, Amazon

They are also available on mail order sites for around 10,800 yen to 19,800 yen. (*As of May 9, 2023)

6-5. Prices offered at BAR Shinkai

At “BAR SHINKAI” operated by this site, 5TH BATCH is offered at 45ml: 2,310 yen, 30ml: 1,540 yen, 15ml: 770 yen for 1 glass.


7. Summary

The 5TH BATCH of the FAR EAST OF PEAT series from the Saburomaru Distillery is a blend of Saburomaru’s heavy peated malts and selected scotch malts, rather than an original exchange, and we feel that it is a very well-balanced and easy-drinking product.

It is made with 2019 heavy peated malt distilled in the “ZEMON” distiller, and I felt its flavor direction is similar to that of “Saburomaru II”, which also uses 2019 “ZEMON” distillate.

The blend of scotch malts may be the reason why the peatiness is not as strong as in “Saburomaru II,” but the harmony of the various elements is excellent, and the sweet, salty, bitter, and peaty elements are intertwined in a complex way, allowing for a variety of expressions to be enjoyed.

When brewed straight, the peat aroma, which is typical of Saburomaru, is somewhat subdued, giving the impression that it is one of the elements that weave together the harmony of the whole.

Although it does not have such a strong character when compared to the previous releases in the Far East of Peat series, THIRD BATCH and FOURTH BATCH, the strong peat aroma of Saburomaru’s original sake is gently enveloped by the Scotch malt, resulting in a very soft and gentle taste, which allows you to enjoy the strong elements of peat and smoke, but not to get tired of drinking it. While enjoying the strong elements of peat and smoke, I felt it was a gem that could be enjoyed slowly over a long period of time without getting tired of drinking.

Although the 5TH BATCH was out of the framework of the previous sake exchange, I think it showed us new possibilities for Saburomaru’s sake.

Will the next installment of the series return to the path of the original sake exchange again, or…?

Whatever the contents of the “Far East of Peat” series, we are sure that it will continue to impress and surprise us, and we look forward to seeing what the future holds.

■Please be sure to check out our other articles on Saburomaru Distillery.[clink url=https://en.jpwhisky.net/2021/12/01/saburomaru_first-2/][clink url=https://en.jpwhisky.net/2022/03/17/far_east_of_peat-3rd_4th-2/]


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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