[Review] Single Malt Saburomaru III THE EMPRESS Cask Strength – Characteristics, taste, list price, where can I buy it?

Whisky Review
Whisky Review
Saburomaru Distillery

Single Malt Saburomaru III THE EMPRESS, the fourth in the Single Malt Saburomaru series, will be released by Saburomaru Distillery on November 24, 2023. Characteristics, taste, and product information on the cask strength version.

New products “Saburomaru III THE EMPRESS” and “Saburomaru III THE EMPRESS Cask Strength” have been released by Saburomaru Distillery.

This is the fourth in the series named after tarot cards. This time, it is released under the Major Arcana No. 3 THE EMPRESS of the Tarot.

This is the first single malt whisky made from Islay peat at the Sabromaru Distillery.

Tarot No.Product NameRelease Date
0: THE FOOLSaburomaru 0 THE FOOLNovember 12, 2020
1: THE MAGICIANSaburomaru I THE MAGICIANNovember 29, 2021
2: THE HIGH PRIESTESSSaburomaru II THE HIGH PRIESTESSNovember 24, 2022
3: The EmpressSaburomaru III THE EMPRESSNovember 24, 2022
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1. Manufacturer

Wakatsuru Sake Brewery Co.

Established1862
Head office location208 Saburomaru, Tonami, Toyama 939-1308
Owned distillery

Saburomaru Distillery

2. Distillery

Saburomaru Distillery

Address208, Saburomaru, Tonami city, Toyama 939-1308
Start of operation1953 (renovated in 2016)

The only distillery in Hokuriku established in 1952.
Amidst the postwar rice shortage, the distillery obtained a license to produce whisky in 1952. Since then, they have been brewing sake in winter and distilling 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. In order 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) Casting method enables molding with a mold and quick delivery. Also, sufficient wall thickness can be added at a low cost, and a long life of the body can be expected.
(2) Free molding by the casting method enables a variety of sake qualities to be achieved. 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 approximately 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 theproduction 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. Product name and photo

Single Malt Saburomaru III THE EMPRESS Cask Strength
Single Malt Saburomaru Third THE EMPRESS Cask Strength

4. Characteristics of Saburomaru III THE EMPRESS Cask Strength

In 2020, Saburomaru Distillery began brewing with peat-smoked malt from Islay for the first time. Islay peat dug near the sea has a salty, gentle yet long aftertaste, and has a variety of expressions different from conventional inland peat. Furthermore, the wooden barrels introduced in this year enabled a variety of fermentations to be carried out using unique lactic acid bacteria. 

The peat earth that has been accumulated over many years, the wooden vats that are hundreds of years old, and the water from Saburomaru that has been refined for decades come together in harmony, giving the whisky a rich color.

Takahiko Inagaki, Saburomaru Distillery

Reference: Saburomaru Distillery official website

The motif is tarot cards (consisting of 22 major arcana and 56 minor arcana), and the third of the 22 major arcana cards, “THE EMPRESS”, ​​is used. It represents the trinity of the fertile earth made of Ira peat, the wooden vats that have been aged for many years, and the water that has been carefully polished.

Keywords: Abundance, love, richness, harmony

Once again, we asked the paper-cutting artist Yukie Kano (born in Himi City, Toyama Prefecture) to create a paper-cut for this “THE EMPRESS” card and use it as the label.

4-1. Tasting Notes

AromaMenthol-like aroma, burnt chocolate baked cake, citrus peel
TasteCharred wood, salted lemon, burnt metal, earthy nuances
Aftertaste

Alcoholic stimulation mingles with saliva, sweetness and acidity peek through

Tangy salt and peat flavors linger underneath and slowly fade away

4-2. Product Specifications

Alcohol content60%
Alcohol categorySingle Malt Japanese Whisky
Cask typeBourbon casks, etc.
Volume700ml
Number of bottles soldLimited to 1,800 bottles
Suggested retail price19,800 yen (tax included)
Release dateNovember 24, 2023

5. Awards

No awards have been received at this time.

6. Price of Saburomaru III THE EMPRESS

6-1. Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price

 

 

Product nameSingle Malt Saburomaru III THE EMPRESS Cask Strength
Capacity700ml
Suggested Retail PriceIncluding tax: 19,800 yen

6-2. Resale price on Mercari

Resale prices on Mercari are around33,000yen to 34,000 yen. (*As of November 28, 2023)

6-3. Yahoo Auction Sold Price

The auction listing on Yahoo! Auctions has a lowest price of 33,000 yen and the highest price of 40,000 yen. (*No trading records as of November 28, 2023)

6-4. Rakuten, Yahoo Shopping, Amazon

No sales are currently confirmed for mail order sites. (*As of November 28, 2023)

6-5. Prices offered at BAR Shinkai

At “BAR Shinkai” operated by this site, we offer it in small quantities such as1 glass, 45ml: 5,610 yen, 30ml: 3,740 yen, 15ml: 1,870 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...

7. Summary

As usual, the cask-strength and regular versions were released simultaneously.

The Islay Peated malt was the first attempt at Saburomaru Distillery, and you can clearly taste the difference from the inland peat from Toyama Prefecture. The regular version, which we introduced in our previous article, has a more robust Islay peat taste, while the cask strength version has a simultaneous alcoholic and peaty taste, and is very drinkable on the rocks, etc., and you can also enjoy the changes over time.

■Please take a look at our other articles about “Saburomaru Distillery”.

[Review] Single Malt Saburomaru ...
This is a perfect match between the "overwhelming smoky flavor" of Saburomaru and ZEMON's round, smooth texture and added sweetness.
[Review] Single Malt Saburomaru ...
Distilled in a cast pot still "ZEMON". It is round and smooth on the tongue, with a sweet and sour taste, but a smokiness spreads throughout the mouth...
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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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