[Review] Kanosuke Newborn 2019

Whisky Review
Whisky Review
Kanosuke Distillery

Komasa Jozo was founded in 1881 and is a very historic shochu maker, with its representative brand being the barrel-aged rice shochu “Mellow Kozuru” . Although it is a shochu maker, the company’s expertise in developing shochu aged in barrels seems to be utilized in making whisky.
This is the second in the Newborn series from the Kanosuke distillery, which started operations in 2018. The name “Kanosuke” comes from the second generation of Kanosuke Komasa, the creator of Mellow Kozuru in 1957.
Kanosuke Newborn 2019 won the “Best Japanese New Make” award at the WWA (World Whisky Awards) 2020.
Now, the distillery is attracting attention not only in Japan but also overseas.


1. Manufacturer

Komasa Brewing Company

Establishment 1883
Head office 3309 Hiki, Hiyoshi-cho, Hioki-shi, Kagoshima 899-3101, Japan
Owned distillery Kannosuke distillery

2. Distillery

Kanosuke Distillery

Address 845-3 Jinnokawa, Hiyoshi-cho, Hiki-shi, Kagoshima 899-2421
Start of operation 2018

The Kanosuke distillery stands on a site of about 9,000 square meters by Fukiage beach on the west coast of Kagoshima Prefecture.
In addition to the distillation facilities, the U-shaped, two-story main building has a bar with a great view and a store selling original goods.
The main feature of the distillery is that it has three pot stills (large, medium, and small). Each has a capacity of 6,000 liters, 3,000 liters, and 1,600 liters.
In the world, craft distilleries usually have two stills. whisky is usually distilled twice, and by using pot stills with different neck shapes and upper line arm angles during the second distillation (re-distillation), the aroma and flavor of the raw material can be changed more richly.
Fukiage beach, where the distillery stands, is one of the three largest sand dunes in Japan and has been selected as one of the 100 best beaches in Japan. The beach is about 47 km long from north to south, and the strong wind rises from the surface of the sea, and the area around the distillery is covered in white mist from the fine spray from the sea. It is a place with a wide range of temperatures, with hot summers and cold winters, where it is not unusual for the temperature to drop to around 0°C and snow to fall.


Image credit: Kanosuke Distillery Official Facebook

For more information on the Kanosuke Distillery, you can also read this article.

3. Product name and photo


4. Characteristics

The second batch of Kanosuke Newborn, stored in bourbon barrels for 16 months.

Non-peated malt from England was used as the raw material. After fermentation with distillery yeast, it was distilled in the first distillery kettle, and then in one of the two kettles owned by the Kanosuke distillery, which has a different structure and is capable of producing liquor with body. Storage. The whisky was distilled in May 2018 and stored in barrels where bourbon whisky used to be stored. The whisky was stored for 16 months in the sea breezy Kanosuke distillery cellar before being bottled at cask strength.




4-1. Tasting Notes

Flavor Vanilla, tide, mint, caramel
Taste Spicy, Pear, Woody, Bitter
Aftertaste Full and soft with a long lasting aftertaste.

4-2. Product Specifications

Alcohol Content 57%
By alcohol Newborn Whisky
Barrel type Bourbon barrel
Contents 200ml
Number of bottles sold Not disclosed
Suggested retail price 3,520 yen (tax included)
Release date Late October, 2019

Newborn is a young whisky that is still in the process of maturing (less than 3 years old).

5. Awards

2020 WWA “Best Japanese New Make” Award.

6. Price

6-1. Manufacturer’s suggested retail price

Product name Kanosuke Newborn 2019
Capacity 200ml
Suggested retail price 3,200 yen (tax included: 3,520 yen)

6-2. Resale price on Mercari

The resale price on Mercari is around 5,000 yen per bottle. (*As of February 4, 2021)

6-3. Sold price on Yahoo Auction

The lowest bid price on Yahoo Auction is 4,500 yen, the highest is 4,500 yen, and the average is 4,500 yen (*Statistics for the past 120 days since February 4, 2021)

6-4. Rakuten, Yahoo Shopping, Amazon

Mail order sites do not have Kanosuke Newborn 2019 in stock. There seems to be some stock left for Kanosuke Newborn 2020. (*as of February 4, 2021)


6-5. Price offered at BAR Shinkai

At “BAR Shinkai” , which is operated by this website, one cup is offered at 45ml: 3,960 yen, 30ml: 2,640 yen, 15ml: 1,320 yen.

7. Summary

Bottled at cask strength after 16 months of storage. It has evolved further from the previous Newborn, becoming mellow and soft.
The aroma changes from vaguely tidal to sweet. The palate has a soothing spiciness and a bitter, soft sweetness that lingers on the palate, not unlike a 16-month-old. The sweetness of the vanilla comes out more clearly and mellows out when water is added.

The current release of the Newborn series is in 200ml bottles, but a full bottle aged for 3 years is scheduled to be released in the spring of 2021.

Please be sure to check out the other articles about Kanosuke Newborn.



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.

新海 博之

Born July 17, 1981 in Kitahiroshima City, Hokkaido, Japan
After graduating from university, joined NTT Data Customer Service Corporation as a new graduate.
2010: Opened "Azabujuban BAR Shinkai" → 2016: Developed specialty "Yakuzen Curry" → 2018: Opened "Toranomon BAR Shinkai" and in 2019 "Shibadaimon BAR Shinkai" → 2020: Started web media "Japanese Whisky Dictionary".
We will daily communicate the appeal of Japanese whiskey as something we, as bartenders, can do.

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