[Review] Single Malt Saburomaru II 70th Anniversary Spanish Oak

Whisky Review
Whisky Review
Saburomaru Distillery

This whisky commemorates the 70th anniversary of Wakatsuru Brewery and Saburomaru Distillery, and is aged in new Spanish oak barrels from the original spirit distilled at ZEMON. This whisky was specially bottled as a single cask, cask strength.

It is a superb bottle with a hefty peated 50 PPM, but also has the richness of sherry.
ZEMON has refined the quality of the whisky and achieved a complexity and depth of flavor despite the young age and heavy peated nature of the whisky.


1. Manufacturer

Wakatsuru Shuzo Co.

Established 1862
Head office address 208, Saburomaru, Tonami, Toyama 939-1308, Japan
Owned distillery Saburomaru distillery

2. 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.
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. 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 vat fermenter was installed.

The main difference from other distilleries is the use of “ZEMON”, the world’s first cast pod still.

There are three major features.
(1) The casting method enables molding with a mold for quick delivery. Also, it is possible to add sufficient wall thickness at a low cost, which increases the service life of the bottle.
(2) Free molding by the casting method allows for various types of sake quality. 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

See also ↓ for information on the Sabromaru distillery.


3. Product name and photo

Single Malt Saburomaru 2 70th Anniversary Spanish Oak
Single Malt Saburomaru Second 70th Anniversary Spanish oak

4. Characteristics

“ZEMON” distilled first single malt

In July 1952, Wakatsuru Shuzo Saburomaru Distillery obtained a license to produce whisky. It began with the challenge of a new distilled spirit by his great-grandfather Kotaro Inagaki in the midst of the tight postwar rice shortage. Since its founding, the distillery has focused on smoky whisky with peat, and this year marks the 70th anniversary of the distillery. We would like to take this opportunity to express our deepest gratitude to all of you for your support over the years. This whisky was specially bottled as a single cask from new Spanish oak casks to commemorate our 70th anniversary. It has a deep ruby reddish amber color, rich and aromatic, with a long smoky finish.

*Limited sale of 594 bottles.

Reference: Limited Whisky “Saburomaru II 70th Anniversary Spanish Oak” on sale|How to apply for lottery purchase

4-1. Tasting Notes

Aroma Dark berries, chocolate, smoky later
Taste Rounded on the tongue, berry syrup, oak astringency, high cocoa, peaty
Aftertaste Pleasant aftertaste of peat combined with astringency without unpleasantness.

4-2. Product Specifications

Alcohol Content 59%
Distillate Single Malt Japanese Whisky
Cask type New Spanish Oak Butt
Content volume 700ml
Number of bottles sold Limited to 594 bottles
Suggested retail price 24,200 yen (tax included)
Release date November 24, 2022

5. Awards

No awards received at this time.

6. Price

6-1. Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price

Product Name Single Malt Saburomaru 2 70th Anniversary Spanish Oak
Capacity 700ml
Suggested retail price 24,200 yen (tax included)

6-2. Resale Price on Mercari

Resale prices on Mercari range from around 69,000 yen to 98,000 yen. (*As of 3/15/2023)

6-3. Sold price on Yahoo! Auctions

Sold price on Yahoo! Auctions: Lowest 67,000 yen Highest 67,000 yen Average 67,000 yen (*Statistics for the past 180 days from 3/15/2023)

6-4. Rakuten, Yahoo Shopping, Amazon

The product does not appear to be currently available on mail-order websites. (*As of 3/15/2023)

6-5. Price offered at BAR Shinkai

At “BAR Shinkai” operated by this site, we offer small quantities such as 1 glass, 45ml: 6,600 yen, 30ml: 4,400 yen, 15ml: 2,200 yen, etc.

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

7. Summary

Distilled in “ZEMON”, the world’s first cast iron pot still, created in 2019. Matured in new Spanish oak barrels and bottled at single cask and cask strength.
The color is dark ruby, the texture is round and smooth on the tongue, and the mellow sweetness of the Spanish oak barrels has been added to the impression.
The palate is sweet at first, but then you can taste the pleasant oak astringency, and finally the peat aroma spreads throughout the palate, giving a deep taste.

The distillery was renovated through crowdfunding in 2017, followed by the introduction of a new mash tun in 2018, a new pot still “ZEMON” in 2019, and a wooden fermentation tank in 2020, and is being upgraded every year.

Please check out 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 textur...
[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 ...

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.

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".

Misato Ushiwataをフォローする