[Review] Ontake The First Edition 2023 – Characteristics, taste, list price, where can I buy it?

Whisky Review
Whisky Review
Ontake Distillery

Review of Ontake Distillery in Hioki City, Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan, by Nishi Shuzo, finally the distillery’s first single malt whisky [Ontake THE FIRST EDITION 2023]. The distillery’s first single malt whisky “Ontake THE FIRST EDITION 2023” is reviewed.

Ontake Distillery, the third distillery in Kyushu after Tsunuki and Kanosuke, has finally announced the release of its first single malt whisky, which will be available in 2019.


1. Manufacturer

Nishi Shuzo Co.

Location4970-17 Yogura, Fukiage-cho, Hioki-shi, Kagoshima
FoundedKoka 2 (1845)
Line of business: Shochu (Tominohozan, etc.), Sake, WhiskeyProduction and sales of authentic shochu (Tominohozan, etc.), sake, whiskey, wine, liqueurs, and spirits

2. About Ontake Distillery

Location12300 Shimofukumoto-cho, Kagoshima City, Kagoshima Prefecture
Start of operation2019

In February 2011, the company acquired the Kagoshima Golf Resort; in 2019, it built a whisky distilling facility within the golf resort.

This will be the third distillery in Kagoshima Prefecture, following Hombo Shuzo’s Mars Tsunuki Distillery and Komasa Brewery’s Kanosuke Distillery. “Ontake” refers to Sakurajima, which seems to be the official name of Sakurajima since ancient times. The distillery is located on a hilltop overlooking Kinko Bay and Ontake (Sakurajima) with over 1,000 liters of natural soft water gushing out every minute.

There are two pot stills, one for first distillation and one for redistillation. The line arms of both stills are designed to face upward, so that heavy flavor components are removed and only “fruity and deep flavor components” are extracted. The distillery’s goal is to use a clean, mouthwatering new pot, with a mellow fruit aroma, a balanced flavor, and a clear mouthfeel that glides down the throat.

The distillery also made a splash in 2019 with the release of a craft gin called “tsukusu” which was created by extracting a total of 24 botanicals.

Image source: Ontake Distillery’s official website

3. Photo of the bottle and sales website

Ontake The First Edition 2023

Ontake The First Edition 2023

4. Ontake The First Edition 2023

Ontake Distillery’s first single malt Japanese whisky, which is the result of 180 years of distilling technology, is now complete.

“This is Japanese whisky.” We want to make something that we can proudly say that about. Our whisky making started from that pure desire. The first bottle has finally been completed.

“It’s not about aiming for the world. It will be the whisky the world wants.”

We will bring you a genuine Japanese whisky from the land of Satsuma that will convince even those who have drunk it.

Tasting Notes

Beautifully clear, slightly reddish amber color. The aroma is very aromatic and rich, with rich sweetness like baked apple, pear compote, and apricot, freshness like citrus peel, spice, and toasty savory notes woven together in a well-balanced manner.

Reference: Ontake Distillery official website

3-1. Tasting Notes

AromaPrune mousse, dried raisins, cinnamon, lemon-like citrus
TasteSmooth, dried fruit sweetness, hazelnut
AftertasteSlightly alcoholic, chocolate, elegant sweetness and bitterness

3-2. Product Specifications

Product nameOntake The First Edition 2023
Sake typeSingle malt whisky
Cask SakeOld sherry casks
Alcohol content43%
Suggested Retail Price14,300 yen (tax included)

4. Awards

No awards received at this time.

5. List Price and Online Price

5-1. Suggested Retail Price (List Price)

Product nameOntake The First Edition 2023
Suggested Retail Price14,300 yen (tax included)

General sales are by lottery only, until 12/27

5-2. Resale price on Mercari

Resale price on Mercari is around 29,000 yen to 30,000 yen. (*As of December 27, 2023)

5-3. Sold price on Yahoo! Auctions

Currently there are no confirmed bids on Yahoo! Auctions. (*As of December 27, 2023)

5-4. Rakuten, Yahoo Shopping, Amazon

Currently there are no confirmed listings. (*As of December 27, 2023)

5-5. Price offered at BAR Shinkai

At “BAR Shinkai” operated by this site, we offer it in small quantities such as 1 glass, 45ml: 3,960 yen 30ml: 2,640 yen, 15ml: 1,320 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...

6. Summary

Non-peated, old sherry casks (not seasoned), watered down to 43%. It seems to be an old Scottish royalty, but it is a very rare composition in craft whisky and very elegant.

I don’t know if this will be released in the future, but what happens at cask strength or when further aged?

This is one distillery to keep an eye on in the future.

For other whisky distilleries in Kyushu and Okinawa region, click here.

8. Whisky Distilleries in Kyushu...
Kyushu and Okinawa area of Japanese Whisky Distillery List.
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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