[Review] Single Malt Saburomaru IV THE EMPEROR

Whisky Review
Whisky Review
Saburomaru Distillery

Single Malt Saburomaru IV THE EMPEROR, the fifth in the Single Malt Saburomaru series, will be released by Saburomaru Distillery on June 27, 2024. Features, taste, and product information.

New products “Saburomaru IV (Force) THE EMPEROR” and “Saburomaru IV (Force) THE EMPEROR Cask Strength” have been released by Saburomaru Distillery.

This is the fifth in the series named after tarot cards. This time, it is released in the Major Arcana of the Tarot No. 4 THE EMPEROR.

It is composed of Highland peat, which is a counterpart to the Islay peat of III THE EMPRESS.

  Product name Release Date
0: THE FOOL Saburo Maru 0 THE FOOL Nov. 12, 2020
1: THE MAGICIAN Saburomaru I THE MAGICIAN November 29, 2021
2: THE FEMALE POPE Saburomaru II THE HIGH PRIESTESS November 24, 2022
3: The Empress Saburomaru III THE EMPRESS November 24, 2023
4: THE EMPEROR Saburomaru IV THE EMPEROR June 27, 2024
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1. Manufacturer

Wakatsuru Shuzo Co.

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

2. What is Saburomaru distillery?

Saburomaru Distillery

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

The only distillery in Hokuriku established in 1952.

It obtained a license to produce whisky in 1952 amidst the postwar rice shortage. Since then, they brew sake in winter and distill 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 fermentation tank was introduced.

The major difference from other distilleries is the use of theworld’s first cast pod still “ZEMON”.


There are three major features.
(1) The casting method enables molding by molds, which makes it possible to manufacture in a short period of time. Also, it is possible to provide sufficient wall thickness at a low cost, and thus a longer service life can be expected for the body.
(2) Free molding by the casting method allows for a variety of sake qualities. 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

For more information about Saburomaru Distillery, please see also here↓.

Saburomaru Distillery | Japane...
Japanese Whisky Dictionary

3. Photo of the bottle and the website where you can purchase it

Single Malt Saburomaru IV THE EMPEROR
Single Malt Saburoumaru IV THE EMPEROR

4. Features of Single Malt Saburoumaru IV THE EMPEROR

A single line of smoke rising from the wilderness. Straighter and richer.

In 2020, the Saburomaru Distillery made two types of peat: the traditional inland peat from the Highlands and the sea peat from the island of Islay. The inland peat has a straighter and more powerful smokiness than the Islay peat, with dry, wood-burning dry nuances. The wooden vats introduced in this year enabled a diverse fermentation process using unique lactic acid bacteria, resulting in a combination of fruity and malty characteristics. Please check out the arrival point of Inland Pete, which has been continued from Saburomaru II.

Takahiko Inagaki, Saburomaru Distillery

(Citation:)  Wakatsuru Shuzo Official Online Shop: Me and ALC

4-1. Tasting Notes

Aroma Sour fruits such as apple and pineapple, vanilla, heavy ashy smokiness
Taste Savory sweetness like sweet chestnuts, apple-like acidity, vanilla, apricot
Aftertaste Ashy smoke envelops the sweetness and acidity and lingers for a long time.

4-2. Product Specifications

Alcohol content 48%
Distinction by alcohol Single malt Japanese whisky
Cask type Bourbon casks, etc.
Volume 700ml
Number of bottles sold 12,500 bottles
Suggested retail price 15,400 yen (including tax)
Release date June 27, 2024

5. Awards

No awards received at this time.

6. List price and online price

6-1. Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price

Product name Single Malt Saburomaru IV THE EMPEROR
Capacity 700ml
Suggested Retail Price 15,400 yen (including tax)

6-2. Resale price on Mercari

The resale price on Mercari is around 19,000 to 20,000 yen. (*As of July 4, 2024)

6-3. Yahoo Auction Sold Price

No bids have been confirmed for this item on Yahoo! Auctions at this time. The lowest bid was confirmed at 17,000 yen. (*As of July 4, 2024)

6-4. Rakuten, Yahoo Shopping, Amazon

It is also available at mail order sites for around 19,800 yen. (*As of July 4, 2024)

6-5. Price offered at BAR Shinkai

At “BAR Shinkai” operated by this site, we offer one glass at 45ml: 4,290 yen, 30ml: 2,860 yen, 15ml: 1,430 yen.

Information about “BAR Shinkai”
Japanese Whisky Dictionary operates three BAR Shingai stores in Minato Ward, Tokyo. In addition to the Japanese whiskeys...

7. Summary

The recent Saburomaru Distillery event, PEAT EMOTION, held in Tokyo, was well received and covered by various news sites. There was an explanation of why the single malt Saburomaru series are tarot cards and the differences between the previous products. The products are made with Highland peat, as opposed to Islay peat in III, this time using the raw materials made in refurbished or newly introduced facilities. The difference between III and IV is almost only in the peat. Other than that, the composition and the timing of the cuts are the same, but the flavors are quite different. Saburomaru fans are welcome to compare the two products.

■Please check out other articles about “Saburomaru Distillery” as well.

[Review] Single Malt Saburomaru ...
Single Malt Saburomaru III THE EMPRESS was released by Wakatsuru Shuzo and Saburomaru Distillery. The price is 14,850 ye...
[Released on 28 September 2023] ...
A blended whisky with a gorgeous, fresh and sweet aroma, slightly different from the usual Saburomaru style. A "Twi...
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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.

この記事を書いた人
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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