[Review] Shizuoka Pot Still K Pure Foreign Barley First Edition

Whisky Review
Whisky Review
Shizuoka Distillery

“Single Malt Japanese Whisky Shizuoka Pot Still K Pure Foreign Barley First Edition” is the third in the K series from Gaiaflow Shizuoka Distillery.
Following in the footsteps of the first “Prologue K” and the second “Pot Still K Pure Japanese Barley First Edition” in the K series, the “K” series consists of the original spirit from distiller K.
This time, it is a single malt Japanese whisky made from 100% foreign barley. Non-peated and peated malts from Scotland are used to achieve a smokiness not found in Japanese barley.
Another key point is that it is the first official release to use sherry casks.

This release is limited to 3,000 bottles in Japan. The suggested retail price is 13,970 yen (tax included).


1. Manufacturer

Gaiaflow Distilling Co.

Established October 8, 2014
Head office location 555 Ochiai, Aoi-ku, Shizuoka City, Shizuoka Prefecture, 421-2223, Japan
Distilleries ownedGaiaflow Shizuoka Distillery

2. Distillery

Gaiaflow Shizuoka Distillery

Location 555 Ochiai, Aoi-ku, Shizuoka City, Shizuoka Prefecture, 421-2223, Japan
Start of operation 2016

Established Gaiaflow Distilling Co. on October 8, 2014.
Construction of Gaiaflow Shizuoka Distillery completed on August 9, 2016.
In the same year, whisky production started on October 28.
The distillery is located in the Tamagawa district of the Okushizu area of Shizuoka City, Shizuoka Prefecture, on the banks of the Abenakagochi River, a tributary of the Abe River, a first-class river.
Surrounded by beautiful 400-meter-high mountains at an elevation of around 200 meters, the temperature is always 2 to 3 degrees cooler than in the city center, making it a truly desirable location.
The building was designed with the theme of fusion of Japanese beauty and Western culture, and in collaboration with Derek Baston, an American architect living in Shizuoka, the interior and exterior of the whisky distillery are made of many Shizuoka woods, which are beautiful to the eye.

Shizuoka Distillery operates two first distillation machines named “K” and “W.” K is a historic distillation machine from the Karuizawa Distillery, which was manufactured in Japan in the 1950s, and was moved to Shizuoka Distillery in November 2011 from the Karuizawa Distillery, which regrettably closed down. The distiller’s graceful silhouette and the indirect heating of steam produce a light and floral tasting sake.

In the left foreground of the photo below is the W, probably the only “wood-fired direct distiller” in the world, made by Forsyth in Scotland.
This time, Prologue W is made from the original spirit distilled by this distiller. The very characteristic of direct-fired distillation is temperature. While the temperature for general indirect heat distillation is around 150℃, the wood-fired direct distillation at Shizuoka Distillery is 800℃, which can produce a savory and powerful type of malt base spirit.

The fermentation tanks are wooden vats made of locally grown Shizuoka cedar. Shizuoka City is known for its forestry industry, and they chose to use locally grown cedar in the hope of creating a whisky that is uniquely Shizuoka.
The malt mill used to grind malt (barley malt), which is the raw material for whisky, has been moved from the Karuizawa distillery and is used in the same way as the “K” distillation machine.

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Incidentally, a certain British company bought a bottle of a fantastic whisky that was made at Mercian Karuizawa distillery and had been sitting in storage without being commercialized, and bottled it in 2013 and sold it as “Karuizawa 1960” for 2 million yen.It then sold for about 14 million yen at a Scottish auction in 2017. It is now clear that Japanese whisky is at the top of the target list for whisky collectors around the world.

Whiskies Mercian was selling at the time included “Karuizawa 8-year old 100% malt whisky” and “Mercian Karuizawa 15-year old sherry cask malt masters.” [/box]

Shizuoka has a warmer climate than Scotland, and the design dares to create a difference in temperature by installing windows in the ceiling of the cellar for lighting. Because of this, the original sake being aged in the cellar is expected to evaporate at least 5% per year at Angel’s Share.

At the distillery, there is a tasting corner where visitors can sample some of the Shizuoka Distillery’s original sake and other products (for a fee). The Shizuoka distillery also imports and sells whisky, including the Indian whisky “Amrut ” and the Scottish bottlers “Black Adder” and “Asta Morris”.

For more information about Gaiaflow Shizuoka Distillery, please click here↓.


3. Product names and photos

Single Malt Japanese Whisky Shizuoka Pot Still K Pure Foreign Barley First Edition

Single Malt Japanese Whisky Shizuoka Pot Still K 100% Imported Barley First Edition

4. Characteristics

Only distiller K is used, and the raw barley malt is 100% foreign.

Since its establishment in 2016, Shizuoka Distillery has been brewing different types of sake according to the country of origin of the barley. This is not to say that Japanese barley is superior to foreign barley, but rather to bring out the individuality of each barley and to create a variety of flavors in each distillate.

The use of foreign barley in the product name, which is commonplace in Japanese whisky, expresses the Shizuoka Distillery’s commitment to the terroir. It also expresses our desire for our customers to experience the characteristics of barley produced in different regions.

The malts used in this product are Scottish non-peated malt from Scotland as well as peated malt. This gives the beer a smokiness not found in Japanese barley.


Quote: Shizuoka Pot Still K Pure Foreign Barley First Edition – Shizuoka Distillery | Shizuoka Whisky

4-1. Tasting Notes

AromaSpongy, gorgeous, clean and sweet aroma.
TasteElegant sweetness like yokan (sweet jelly) and suama (sweet and bitter sherry).

Slightly peaty and woody aroma lingers pleasantly.

4-2. Product Specifications

Alcohol content55.5%
DistillateSingle Malt Japanese Whisky
Cask typeBourbon and sherry casks
Number of bottles soldLimited to 3,000 bottles
Suggested retail price13,970 yen (tax included)
Release dateEarly March 2023

5. Awards

No awards have been received at this time.

6. Price

6-1. Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price

Product NameSingle Malt Japanese Whisky Shizuoka Pot Still K Pure Foreign Barley First Version
Suggested Retail Price13,970 yen (tax included)

6-2. Resale Price on Mercari

Resale price on Mercari is around 15,000 yen to 20,000 yen. (*As of 4/11/2023)

6-3. Sold price on Yahoo! Auctions

Sold price on Yahoo! Auctions: Lowest 13,200 yen Highest 27,500 yen Average 17,329 yen (*Statistics for the past 180 days from 4/11/2023)

6-4. Rakuten, Yahoo Shopping, Amazon

The mail order site sells for around 22,000 yen. (*As of 4/11/2023)

6-5. Price offered at BAR Shinkai

At “BAR Shinkai” operated by this site, we offer it in small quantities such as 1 glass, 45 ml: 4,620 yen 30 ml: 3,080 yen, 15 ml: 1,540 yen.


7. Summary

The most distinctive feature of this new release is the use of 100% foreign barley as an ingredient. It is made from Scottish peated and non-peated malt and has a phenol level of approximately 20ppm. For the first time in Shizuoka’s official release, it includes sherry cask-aged sake.

The casks consist of bourbon barrel 19 barrels, bourbon quarter cask 50L 2 barrels, and sherry cask 40L 1 barrel, with only a few sherry casks having a significant impact on the flavor. The flavor is not too heavy, but gorgeous and smoky.

Please check out our other articles on “Gaiaflow Shizuoka Distillery”.




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".

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Japanese Whisky Dictionary