【Review】Moonglow Crescent 2018

Whisky Review
Whisky Review
Saburomaru Distillery

Wakatsuru Sake Brewery, founded in 1918, released “MOONLOW Crescent 2018” as the third installment of the Moon glow series to celebrate its 100th anniversary.

The first is “MOONGLOW First Release”, and the second is “MOONGLOW Limited Edition 2018”.

Following on from “MOONWLOW First Release”, this work was selected for the second year in a row as the best whisky (Japanese Blended Limited release 12 years or less) at the WWA (World Whisky Awards) in 2019 .

This whisky was specially blended by examining raw materials from a wide range of ages, including Saburo-Maru Distillery malt distilled in 1960 and Mizunara post-ripe grain from Toyama Prefecture.
It has Multi-layered flavors and complex aftertaste created by the long years, and it lasts for a long time as it plays in harmony.


1. Manufacturers

Wakatsuru Sake Brewery Co., Ltd.

Headquarters address:208 Saburomaru, Tonami City, Toyama 〒939-1308
Owned DistillerySaburomaru Distillery

2. Distillery

Saburomaru Distillery

Location208 Saburomaru, Tonami City, Toyama 〒939-1308
Start of operation1953 (renovated in 2016)

Founded in 1952, it is the only distillery in the Hokuriku.
In 1952, they obtained a whisky production license in the postwar rice shortage. Since then, they prepare sake during the winter months and they distill whisky only during the summer. It is particular about smoky whisky and is prepared only with British peat malt. In order to take advantage of the natural flavor, it is characterized by no cooling filtration and coloring.

The major difference from other distilleries is the world’s first cast pod stil“ZEMON”.There are three major features. (1)
lding by mold is possible by casting method, and production with short delivery time is possible. In addition, it can have sufficient wall thickness at low cost, and it can be expected to increase the life of the main body.(2) Various whisky qualities are realized by free molding by casting. In addition, by unitizing each part, it corresponds to the replacement of only worn parts and expansion of functions.  (3) It is made of copper-tin alloy containing about 90% copper and about 8% tin. Tin is a high-grade metal that trades at about three times the price of copper. Tin has beensaid to mellow the taste of Sake since ancient times, and has been used as a cooler for sake bowls and Shochu. They are able to produce high quality spirits due to the dual effects of copper and tin in ZEMON!.                               Quote: Wakatsuru Sake Brewery Official Website

Image exhibition: Saburomaru Distillery Official Facebook

Click here for information on Saburomaru Distillery.


3. Product name and photo

Moonglow Crescent
2018 MOON GLOW Crescent 2018

4. Features

Blended with original sake of a wide range of age, including Saburomaru Distillery Malt distilled in 1960 and Mizunara Post-Ripe Grain. 

Blended using malted liquor from Saburomaru Distillery and imported original sake such as Scotch grain whisky. This whisky was specially blended by examining raw materials from a wide range of ages, including Saburo-Maru Distillery malt distilled in 1960 and Mizunara post-ripe grain from Toyama Prefecture.
It has Multi-layered flavors and complex aftertaste created by the long years, and it lasts for a long time as it plays in harmony.

Non-chill filter*1, non-color bottling so that you can enjoy the individuality of the unblended as it is.

*1 Non-chill filter: unblended whisky aged in barrels will precipitate the flavor components that are separated when the temperature decreases and become cloudy. To prevent this from happening, regular whiskys dare to cool and filter the unblended and products to about 0-5 degrees. The components that precipitate when cooled are those derived from malt and those derived from barrels, both of which are considered to be taste components of whisky. It can be said that the fact that it is not cooled and filtered means that it is bottled with the flavor components of malt and barrels as it is, resulting in a more complex and rich taste of whisky.

4-1. Tasting Notes

ScentVanilla cream, wax, smoked with a little acid, earthy peat, boiled chestnuts, menthol.
TasteSmooth, slightly oily, banana
LingeringMellow malt sweetness and peaty aromas continue

4-2. Product Specifications

Alcohol level43%
By LiquorBlended whisky
Barrel typeBourbon barrels, sherry barrels, red wine barrels, quercus crispula barrels, etc.
Number of sales2,500 bottles
Suggested retail price14,000 yen (excluding tax)
Release dateNovember 21, 2018

5. Awards

Best Whisky (12 years or less released by Japanese Blended Limited) at the 2019 World Whisky Awards (WWA)

6. Price

6-1. Manufacturer’s suggested retail price

Product nameMoonglow Crescent 2018
Suggested retail price14,000 yen (tax included: 15,400 yen)

6-2. Resale prices at Mercari

Resale prices at Mercariare around 10,000 yen to 12,500 yen. (*As of March 5, 2021)

6-3. Yahoo Auction Winning Bid Price

The winning bid price at yahoo auction is 9,000 yen at the lowest price, up to 9,501 yen, average 9,250 yen (*Statistical information for the past 120 days from March 5, 2021)

6-4. Rakuten, Yahoo Shopping, Amazon

On mail order sites, it is sold at a list price of 15,400 yenat the same price as the list price. (*As of March 5, 2021)

6-5. Offered prices at BAR Shinkai

“BAR Shinkai” operated by this site offers small amounts such as 1 cup, 45 ml: 3,600 yen, 30 ml:2,400 yen, 15 ml: 1,200 yen.


7. Summary

Saburomaru Distillery was crowdfunded and renovated in 2017. The appearance has changed to a facility where you can visit a distillery.
On November 12, 2020, saburomaru 0 THE FOOL, the first single malt whisky after the renovation of Saburomaru Distillery, was released.
It is a single malt distilled in 2017 and will be the first original unblended after renovation. The cask strength version was also released in limited quantities in the online shop on the same day. Saburomaru Distillery used to manufacture blended whisky mainly, but the distillery is finally ready to serve single malt whiskys.


From 2019 to 2020, the number of so-called Japanese whiskys (single malts) by in-house distillation has increased at each distillery. In 2021,
I would like to pay attention to the future movement of kind of single malt will be released from Saburomaru Distillery.

Read more about Saburomaru Distillery Moongrow.


深瀬 悠二

Born in Sapporo, Hokkaido.
In 2005, worked for a major sporting goods sales chain → In January 2019, worked at BAR Shinkai and was drawn in and captivated by the allure of whiskey. The first whiskey he ever drank was Ardbeg 10 years old. Aiming to acquire further knowledge while drinking whiskey almost every day, he obtained the Whiskey Certificate Level 2 and JC Level (Japanese Craft Whiskey).
He wants to express the thoughts of the distiller and convey correct information to the drinkers. He is in charge of editing the web media "Japanese Whisky Dictionary" with a desire to convey the appeal of whisky to as many people as possible.

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Japanese Whisky Dictionary