[Review] Single Malt Komagatake Limited Edition 2019

Whisky Review
Whisky Review
komagatake Distillery

Komagatake Limited Edition 2019

is a limited edition single malt whisky made from malt liquor matured in bourbon and American white oak barrels in the beautiful natural environment of Shinshu.


1. Manufacturer

Honbo Shuzo Co.

Head office locationAddress
3-27, Nan Sakae, Kagoshima City, Kagoshima Prefecture
Distilleries ownedMars Shinshu distillery, Mars Tsunuki distillery

2. Distillery

Mars Shinshu distillery

Location 4752-31, Miyata-mura, Kamiina-gun, Nagano 399-4301, Japan
Start of operation in 1985

It was in 1949 that Honbo Shuzo, which had been striving to make shochu, a Japanese distilled spirit, in Kagoshima, obtained a license to produce whisky. Since then, the company has been holding onto the dream of one day producing a genuine whisky that takes advantage of the Japanese climate.
In 1960, after several years of whisky production in Kagoshima, he established the Mars Yamanashi Wineryin Yamanashi, a factory for wine and whisky production. Then, in order to engage in whisky production in earnest, they searched for an even more ideal location.

The natural conditions for whisky production are very severe, including a cold climate with clean air, as well as moderate humidity and good quality water.
After searching for a place that met these conditions, we opened the Mars Shinshu Distillery in 1985 at an altitude of 798 meters at the foot of Mount Komagatake in the Central Alps of Nagano Prefecture, in search of the best environment for whisky production.
In 1992, the distillery stopped distilling due to sluggish demand for whisky. Later, as Japanese whisky began to be appreciated worldwide, the demand for whisky began to recover in 2009 .
In September 2020, the distillery will be completely renovated for the first time in 35 years. The investment will be approximately 1.2 billion yen.

From May 2019, the whisky distillation building (including barrel storage) will be newly constructed for the purpose of renovating aging facilities, building barrel storage facilities with an eye to increasing whisky production, and observing whisky production, and the visitor building will be newly constructed for the purpose of selling original whisky and goods, and existing facilities and equipment will be renovated.
The new whisky distillery building has a total floor area of 1,996 square meters (including a barrel storage room that will hold approximately 2,500 barrels), and the visitor building has a floor area of 746 square meters.
Reference: Honbo Shuzo official website

■Production capacity: 1.1 tons of raw malt/day

■Brewing capacity: approx. 700 liters/day, approx. 185 kl/year (planned for FY2020)
■Major equipment: 1 malt grinding machine, 1 mash tun reuter (saccharification tank) 6KL x 1, stainless steel fermentation tanks 6KL x 3, Douglas fir wooden fermentation tanks (relocated) 6KL x 3, first distillation kettle (relocated)

For more information about Mars Shinshu Distillery, please see here↓


3. Product name and photo

Single Malt Komagatake Limited Edition 2019

4. Characteristics

Image exhibited by Honbo Shuzo official website

Elegant and mellow taste with high aroma

This is a 2019 limited edition bottled single malt whisky that is primarily bathed in malt raw materials matured in bourbon barrels. It offers aromas of ripe persimmons and apricots with a hint of orange marmalade, and an elegant, mellow taste reminiscent of quince and melon with a clean, pleasant finish.

4-1. Tasting Notes


Aroma of ripe persimmons, apricots and orange marmalade

TasteElegant and mellow with hints of quince and melon.
AftertasteClean and pleasant aftertaste.

4-2. Product Specifications

Alcohol content48% alcohol by volume
by alcoholSingle malt
Barrel typeBourbon barrels, American white oak barrels, sherry barrels
Number of bottles sold11,497 bottles
Suggested retail price8,360 yen (tax included)
Release dateSeptember 2019

5. Award history

Tokyo whisky & Spirits Competition (TWSC 2020) Silver Award

What is the Tokyo whisky & Spirits Competition (TWSC)?
The Tokyo whisky & Spirits Competition (TWSC) is a whisky and spirits competition originating in Japan, planned and managed by the whisky Culture Institute. The purpose of the competition is to promote the high quality of whisky and spirits in Japan and abroad by evaluating the world’s whisky and spirits with the deep knowledge and passion of Japanese whisky and spirits lovers. The Gold, Silver, and Bronze awards are determined based on the results of the judging criteria of aroma, flavor, finish, balance, and overall score for each category. In addition, the Executive Committee will deliberate and decide on the product with the most outstanding score among the Gold Award winners, and award the “Highest Gold Award” to it.

6. Price

6-1. Manufacturer’s suggested retail price

Product nameSingle Malt Komagatake Limited Edition 2019
Suggested Retail PriceTax included: 8,360 yen

6-2. Resale Price on Mercari

The resale price on Mercari is around 10,000 yen to 13,000 yen. (*As of April 15, 2021)

6-3. Yahoo Auction Sold Price

The lowest bid price on Yahoo Auction was 7,500 yen, the highest was 12,000 yen, and the average was 9,759 yen (based on statistics for the past 120 days from April 15, 2021).
The price is gradually increasing every year.

6-4. Rakuten, Yahoo Shopping, Amazon

Mail order sites sell them for around 15,000 yen(*As of April 15, 2021)

6-5. Price offered at BAR SHINKAI

At “BAR SHINKAI”, which is operated by this website, we offer even small quantities such as 1 glass, 45ml: 2,970 yen,30ml: 1,980 yen, 15ml: 990 yen.

7. Summary

I recommend drinking it straight, as well as on the rocks or with water. This is a limited edition whisky for 2019.

■Please check out our other articles on Single Malt Komagatake.




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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Japanese Whisky Dictionary