[Review] Single Cask Komagatake Yakushima Aging Cask No.2026

Whisky Review
Whisky Review
Hombo Shuzokomagatake Distillery

“Single Cask Komagatake” is sold in very limited quantities. The “Single Cask Komagatake Yakushima Aging Cask No. 2026” presented in this article is a single cask whisky that was distilled in February 2015 at the Mars Shinshu Distillery and aged for 7 years and 10 months in a sherry butt. Limited edition of 602 bottles.


1. Manufacturer

Hombo Shuzo Co.,Ltd.

Established 1872
Head office location 3-27 Nanei, Kagoshima City, Kagoshima Prefecture, 891-0122, Japan
Owned distilleriesMars Shinshu Distillery, Mars Tsunuki Distillery

2. Distillery

Mars Shinshu Distillery

Location 4752-31 Miyata-mura, Kamiina-gun, Nagano 399-4301
Start of operation 1985

In 1949, Hombo Shuzo, which had been striving to make “Shochu”, a Japanese distilled spirit, in Kagoshima, obtained a license to produce whisky. Since then, the company has held on to the dream of “someday making real whisky that takes full advantage of the Japanese climate.”
After several years of whisky production in Kagoshima, in 1960, he established the “Mars Yamanashi Winery”, a factory for wine and whisky production in Yamanashi. Then, in order to engage in whisky production in earnest, he searched for an even more ideal location.

The natural conditions for whisky making are very demanding: cold climate with clean air, moderate humidity, and good quality water.

In 1985, after searching for land that met these conditions, Mars Shinshu Distillery was established at an altitude of 798 meters at the foot of Komagatake Mountain in the Central Alps, Nagano Prefecture, in search of the best environment for whisky making.
In 1992, distillation was halted due to sluggish demand for whisky. Later, as Japanese whisky began to be appreciated worldwide, we decided to resume distilling in 2009, when the demand for whisky was on the recovery trend, and started distilling again in 2010. The company re-started in February 2011.
In September 2020, it was completely renovated for the first time in 35 years. The investment is approximately 1.2 billion yen.

In May 2019, a new whisky distillation building (including a barrel cellar) was built to renovate aging facilities, improve the barrel cellar facilities with a view to increasing whisky production, and provide tours of the whisky making process, as well as a visitor building to sell original whisky and merchandise.
The new whisky distillation building has a total floor area of 1,996 square meter (including the barrel cellar, which will hold approximately 2,500 barrels), and the visitor’s building has a floor area of 746 square meter.

Reference: Hombo Shuzo official website

■Production capacity: 1.1 tons of malt per day
■Production capacity of malt malt: 1.1 t/day
■Main facilities: 1 malt crusher, 1 mash tun reuter (saccharification tank) 6KL, 3 stainless steel fermentation tanks 6KL, 3 Douglas fir wooden fermentation tanks (relocated) 6KL, and a first distillation kettle (relocated)

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


3. Product name and photo

Single Cask Komagatake Yakushima Aging Cask No.2026
Single Cask Komagatake Yakushima Aging Cask No.2026

4. Characteristics

Yakushima, a World Natural Heritage island, is located about 60 km south-southwest of the Kagoshima mainland. The Mars Yakushima Aging Cellar is located on this island, which is blessed with steep mountains and abundant water.
“Single Cask Komagatake Yakushima Aging Cask No. 2026” is a single cask whisky, carefully selected and bottled from one of the malt whiskies matured in this unique environment, distilled at the Mars Shinshu Distillery and matured in a sherry butt.
*This product conforms to the Japan Spirits & Liquors Makers Association “Standards for the Labeling of Japanese Whisky.”
Reference: Japanese Whisky|Single Cask Komagatake Yakushima Aging Cask No.2026

4-1. Tasting Notes

AromaRum raisin, ripe pineapple, slightly woody
TasteSimple sugary sweetness, caramel bitterness, pear-like fruitiness
AftertasteShort-lived sweetness and lingering bitterness on the tip of the tongue

4-2. Product Specifications

Alcohol content53%
By SakeSingle cask
Cask typeSherry Butt
Number of bottles soldLimited to 602 bottles
Suggested retail price16,500 yen (tax included)
Release date2023

5. Awards

World Whisky Awards (WWA 2023) Single Cask Category – Japan’s Highest Award

Tokyo Whisky & Spirits Competition (TWSC 2023) Top Gold Award


<What is the World Whiskies Awards (WWA)?>

The World Whiskies Awards (WWA) is the world’s leading whisky competition held in the UK. Organized by Paragraph Publishing, publishers of the whisky magazine “Whisky Magazine,” only official bottles from the manufacturer and seller are eligible. The title of “World’s Best Whisky” is determined by a rigorous final judging process that includes a blind tasting in which the brand name is concealed from the judges. The final judging will be conducted by blind tasting with the name of the brand hidden.


<What is the Tokyo Whisky & Spirits Competition (TWSC)?>

The Tokyo Whisky & Spirits Competition (TWSC) is a whisky and spirits competition in Japan, planned and managed by the Whisky Culture Institute. The purpose of the competition is to promote high quality whiskies and spirits both domestically and internationally by evaluating whiskies and spirits from around the world with the deep knowledge and passion of Japanese whisky and spirits connoisseurs. Gold, Silver, and Bronze awards will be determined for each category based on the results of the judging based on aroma, flavor, finish, balance, and overall judging criteria. The Gold, Silver, and Bronze prizes are awarded based on the results of the scoring based on the criteria of aroma, flavor, finish, balance, and overall performance. The Executive Committee deliberates and decides which product receives the most outstanding score among the Gold prizes and awards the “Highest Gold Award”.

6. Price

6-1. Suggested Retail Price

Product nameSingle Cask Komagatake Yakushima Aging Cask No. 2026
Suggested Retail PriceTax included: 16,500 yen

6-2. Resale price on Mercari

Resale prices on Mercari range from around 34,000 yen to 52,222 yen. (*As of 5/9/2023)

6-3. Sold price on Yahoo! Auctions

The lowest, highest and average bid prices on Yahoo! Auctions were both 56,000 yen. (as of 5/9/2023)

6-4. Rakuten, Yahoo Shopping, Amazon

Each of these retail sites does not appear to be selling the product at this time. (*As of 5/9/2023)

6-5. Prices offered at BAR Shinkai

At “BAR Shinkai” operated by this site, one glass, 45ml: 4,950 yen, 30ml: 3,300 yen, 15ml: 1,650 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

It is characterized by the perfect balance of elegant sweetness and bitterness. It is a product of the environment of Yakushima, and although it has been aged for 7 years and 10 months, it gives the impression of being more matured than that. It does not have the roughness or alcoholic attack that young whisky tends to have, and the taste is gentle without feeling the high proof of 53%.

The aroma is heavy with rum raisins and ripe pineapple, but the taste is light. Simple sweetness and bitters play together to give way to a pear-like fruitiness on the nose.

With a small amount of watering, the bitterness becomes less sweet and more forward. The woody aroma, which is probably derived from the oak barrels, also follows, giving the wine a different expression.

The recommended way to drink it is straight. We hope you will enjoy the original taste and aroma straight away, and gradually add more water to find your favorite balance.

“Single Cask Komagatake” is currently sold on a regular basis. However, since it is limited to a very small number of bottles, it seems to be quite difficult to obtain. If you have a chance to drink it, I would like to compare them.

At BAR Shinkai, we also have “Single Cask Komagatake 2014 No.1834 AGED 6 YEARS” and “Single Cask Komagatake 2013 No.1663 AGED 7 YEARS”. Please take a look at our reviews here.

[clink url=https://en.jpwhisky.net/2022/02/14/singlecask_komagatake_no1834-2/][clink url=https://en.jpwhisky.net/2022/02/14/singlecask_komagatake_2013_no1663-2]


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