World Whiskies Awards 2024 – Japan Preliminary Round Results and List of Winning Products

Yasato DistilleryYoichi DistilleryMiyagikyo DistilleryFujigotenba DistilleryChichibu Distillery (Ichiro's Malt)komagatake DistilleryTsunuki DistilleryAkkeshi DistilleryKanosuke DistilleryShizuoka DistillerySaburomaru DistilleryNagahama DistillerySakurao DistilleryEigashima Distillery

On February 1, 2024, the results of the 2024 national qualifying rounds of the “World Whiskies Awards“, a whisky competition that selects the best in each category from among whiskies entered from around the world, were announced.
In Japanese whisky, 14 brands were awarded category winners and will advance to the world round later this year.

In this article, we will introduce the whiskies from Japanese manufacturers that were entered in this year’s competition, organized by category, limited to those in the category [Japan], which are whiskies that are 100% made in Japan.

*”New Make & Young Spirit” will be omitted this time.
*Only the product name will be introduced for the award-winning title “Bronze”.


1. What is the World Whisky Awards?

The World Whisky Awards is a global award that recognizes the best of all internationally recognized whisky styles. Hosted by, the world’s #1 online resource for liquor professionals, the World Whisky Awards selects, recognizes and promotes the world’s best whiskies to consumers and industry professionals worldwide.

2. Gudging process

The judging process is divided into two categories, Taste and Design.

2-1. Round 1

Each whisky is tasted in its own style to identify and select a style winner. The judging panel for the World Whisky Awards includes international journalists, liquor retailers, and industry experts. The first round of judging appears to be conducted in each of the exhibiting countries.

2-2. Second Round

Whiskies that have won style awards will be tasted against each other to determine the “best” whisky in each category.

2-3. Round 3

The “best” whisky in each category will be tasted one last time to determine the “World’s Best” whisky. The judges at this stage include the judges from Rounds 1 and 2, as well as leading distillery managers and whisky industry experts.

3. Results of Round 1 in Japan

We will now look at the results of the first round of whiskies exhibited from Japan, category by category. The original information for this list is here.

Due to the volume, only the product names of the Blonze award-winning whiskies will be introduced.

3-1. Blended

Blended whisky is a whisky produced by vatting at least one single malt whiskey and one single grain whisky. If the blended malt has a geographical indication (e.g., Irish blended malt), the blend must have been vatted and bottled in the country indicated on the label. In addition, the majority (more than 50%) of the component whisky must be distilled and aged in the country indicated on the label to qualify for entry.

[Category Winner] Single Blended Japanese Whisky Fuji

[Review] Single Blended Japanese...
Everything from preparation to aging is done at the foot of Mt. Fuji, and it is a rare product in the world that blends a variety of malts and grains unique to ...

[Silver] Hinomaru Whisky KOME

[Image source: Hinomaru Whisky KOME]


日の丸ウイスキー KOME 700ml

3-2. Blended Limited Release

Blended limited release of whisky with a limited production of less than 3,600 bottles.

[Category Winner]Ichiro’s Malt & Grain Limited Edition 2024

The photo shows the 2023 version, so it is believed that the award-winning product will be released this year (2024).

【中古・未開栓】イチローズモルト & グレーン ジャパニーズ ブレンデッド ウイスキー リミテッド エディション 2023 木箱 外箱入り 48度 700ml 秩父蒸溜所 お酒【 埼玉県内配送限定】【リサイクルマート秩父店】r242-1200581905802063

[Silver] Hinomaru Whisky The 1st Barrels

日の丸ウイスキー The 1st Barrels | HINOM...
「日の丸ウイスキー The 1st Barrels」は、2016年に那珂市・額田蒸溜所で最初に蒸溜したモルト原酒と、2020年に石岡市・八郷蒸溜所で最初に蒸留した国産小麦のグレーン原酒をそれぞれシェリー樽で熟成しブレンドしました。個性豊かな2か所の蒸溜所の原酒が生み出すハーモニーをお楽しみください。

3-3. Blended Malt

Blended malt whisky is produced by combining single malt whiskies distilled at different distilleries and is sometimes labeled “vatted malt” or “pure malt” on the package. If the blended malt has a geographical indication (e.g., Irish blended malt), the blend must have been vatted and bottled in the country indicated on the label. In addition, the majority (more than 50%) of the component whisky must be distilled and aged in the country indicated on the label to qualify for entry.

[Category Winner] Mars The Y.A. #02

[Review] MARS The Y.A. #02
Fruit aroma that evokes a warm climate, smoky flavor reminiscent of the mysterious scene when fog covers the forests of Yakushima, and aroma reminiscent of sea ...

[Silver] Nikka Taketsuru Pure Malt

[Review] Taketsuru Pure Malt New...
Hsinchutsuru Pure Malt is a combination of malt forged in the northern sea and malt grown in a green canyon.

[Bronze] Ichiro’s Malt Double Distilleries

[Review] Ichirose Malt Double Di...
We battered malt raw sake from Hanyu Distillery and Chichibu Distillery, and Hanyu Distillery's malt raw sake uses "sherry barrels" mainly from punche...

3-4. Single Cask Single Malt – No Age Statement

Single cask refers to wooden casks with a capacity of 750 liters or less. Single cask single malt whisky must be disgorged and bottled without the addition of any substances other than water (for dilution) and/or spirit caramel. No vatting of more than one cask is allowed in the single cask single malt production process.

[Category Winner] YUZA Medium Peated 2023 Spring

A single cask from the Yusa distillery released exclusively at Isetan Mitsukoshi.

[Silver]Single Malt Kanosuke Distillery Limited #008


3-5. Single CaskSingle Malt12 Years &Under

[Category Winner] Single Cask Tsunuki AGED 6 YEARS Cask No.T121

Won the category winner in the style of “12 Years & Under”.
At this time, we are unable to confirm product information on the manufacturer’s website, etc., and suspect that it will be released in the future.

[Silver] Saburomaru I THE MAGICIAN For Sip Barrel Owner 2018

Whisky bottled for barrel owners who applied to be a sip barrel owner at the Saburomaru Distillery in 2018.
At this time, no product details have been released on the manufacturer’s website or elsewhere.

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

[Review] Single Malt Saburomaru ...
Distilled in "ZEMON", the world's first cast iron pot still. Single cask, cask strength, aged in new Spanish oak barrels.

[Bronze] Single Malt Saburomaru 2019 3 Years T&T TOYAMA COLLECTION

[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.

3-6. SingleMalt – NoAge Statement

Single malt whisky must be 100% malted and distilled at least twice using copper pot stills. Multiple casks may be used, but a single distillery product must be at least 40% alcohol by volume and aged for a minimum of two years in wooden casks. If the single malt whiskey has a geographical indication (e.g. Irish single malt whisky), it must have been distilled and aged in the country indicated on the label.

[Category Winner] Ichiro’s Malt Chichibu Red Wine Cask 2023

[Review] Ichiro’s Malt Chichibu ...
This whisky is very fruity and also has a firm spicy character. The aroma is wonderful, and the alcohol attack is firm but smooth. The spiciness of cinnamon alo...

[Silver] Single Malt Tsunuki 2024 Edition

[Review] Single Malt Tsunuki 202...
After the release of the 7th anniversary commemorative bottle last November, the first bottle of the new year, "Single Malt Tsunuki 2024 Edition" was ...

[Silver] Single Malt Yoichi Grande

[Silver] YUZA Single Malt 2023

[Review] YUZA 2023
This single malt Japanese whisky is the "origin" of Yuza Distillery's house style. It is characterized by its clean, fruity taste and sweet vanilla-li...

[Bronze] Single Malt Eigashima QUARTET

[Bronze] Single Malt Kanosuke

[Review] Single Malt Kanosuke
Non-peat malt is used, with multiple barrels of vatting, with the key ingredient being the original wine aged in American white oak litchi casks.

[Bronze] Single Malt Kanosuke 2023 Edition

[Review] Single Malt Kanosuke 20...
Single Malt Kanosuke 2023 LIMITED EDITION is mainly made with peat malt and aged in bourbon casks in 2018-2019, vatted and bottled at cask strength in multiple ...

[Bronze] Akkeshi Single Malt Keichitsu

[Review] Akkeshi Single Malt Jap...
"Keichitsu" is savory and sweet, with a slight peaty aftertaste. It also has a sweet, whole wheat cookie-like aroma.

[Bronze] Single Malt Yoichi

[Review] Single Malt Yoichi
Released on September 1, 2015. 2017 ISC Gold Award. The weight and aroma unique to straight head pot still and coal open flame distillation. The heavy peat-type...

[Bronze] YUZA Third Edition 2023

[Review] YUZA Third Edition 2023
YUZA Third Edition will be released in November 2023 from Yusa Distillery for 16,500 yen (tax included). It is made with sake aged in rare Mizunara oak casks. T...

3-7. SingleMalt – 12 Years & Under

[Category Winner] Single Malt Yoichi 10years old

[Silver] Single Malt Akashi PX Sherry Cask 5years Heavily Peated

[Bronze] Hinomaru Whisky Sherry Cask

3-8. SmallBatch Single Malt –NoAge Statement

Small batch single malt whisky is defined as single malt whisky produced using 100 or fewer casks.

[Category Winner] Single Malt Shizuoka Pot Still W Pure Japanese Barley First Edition

[Review]Shizuoka Pot Still W Pur...
This is the successor to "Prologue W" and the third in the W series, consisting of the wood-fired distiller W's original sake. 100% Japanese barley is...

[Silver]Single Malt Tsunuki 7th Anniversary Local Barley

[Review] Single Malt Tsunuki 7th...
This is a limited edition bottle for the Tsunuki Distillery Festival, which was held locally for the first time in four years, partly due to the Corona disaster...

[Bronze] Single Malt Togouchi Misty Stillman’s Selection

[Bronze] YUZA Oloroso Sherry Cask 2023

3-9.SmallBatch Single Malt12 Years & Under

[Category Winner] Single Malt Komagatake AGED 9 YEARS Small Batch

[Review] Single Malt Komagatake ...
Komagatake AGED 9 YEARS is a single malt whisky bottled after carefully selecting and vatting several barrels of original sake aged for more than 9 years in Shi...

[Silver]Single Malt Nagahama THE SECOND BATCH

[Review] Single Malt Nagahama TH...
Four different types of aged spirits, including Oloroso sherry casks, KOVAL whisky casks, Islay quarter casks, and bourbon quarter casks from the 2019 distillat...

[Bronze] Single Malt Nagahama THE THIRD BATCH

[Review] Single Malt Nagahama TH...
Single Malt Nagahama THE THIRD BATCH has arrived from Nagahama Distillery, owned by Nagahama Roman Beer, after a seven-month absence, with FIRST BATCH released ...

[Bronze] Single Malt Saburomaru III THE EMPRESS

[Review] Single Malt Saburomaru ...
Single Malt Saburomaru III THE EMPRESS was released by Wakatsuru Shuzo and Saburomaru Distillery. The price is 14,850 yen (tax included). This product, named af...

[Bronze] Single Malt Saburomaru III THE EMPRESS Cask Strength

429 Too Many Requests

3-10. Grain

Grain whisky is distilled from mash consisting of one or more grains, including but not limited to wheat, corn, barley, millet, spelt, rice, oats, and rye.

[Category Winner] Nikka The Grain

429 Too Many Requests

[Silver] Nikka Cafe Grain

[Review] Nikka Coffey Grain
It is a tasteful grain whiskey made with a "café-type continuous distiller" which is rare in the world.

[Bronze] Single Grain Japanese Whisky Fuji

[Review] Single Grain Whisky Fuj...
Only the grain whiskey raw liquor from the Fuji Gotemba Distillery, which is highly acclaimed worldwide, is used, and three types of grain raw liquor with diffe...

3-10. PotStill

Pot still whisky must be produced in a mash bill containing both malted and unmalted barley and distilled at least twice in a copper pot still. To be classified in this category, pot still whisky must be bottled at 40% alcohol by volume or higher and aged in barrels for at least two years.

[Category Winner] Kanosuke HIOKI POT STILL

[Review] Kanosuke HIOKI POT STIL...
KANOSUKE HIOKI POT STILL", the second standard product after "Single Malt KANOSUKE", has been released. It is distilled at the distillery in Hiok...

4. Consideration

It is still fresh in our minds that Suntory won the title of “World’s Most Admired Whisky” by Drinks International last fall, but it seems that no Suntory products were entered in the World Whisky Awards However, it seems that no Suntory products were exhibited at the “World Whisky Awards 2024”.

“Yamazaki Aged 25 Years” and “Hi...
Suntory's "Yamazaki Aged 25 Years" won the "Supreme Champion Spirit" award, the highest award in all categories, for the first time at the &...

As for the major manufacturers, Nikka and Kirin, in turn, won “Category Winner” in their respective categories.

Chichibu Distillery and Mars Whisky (Hombo Brewery), both veterans of craft distilleries, received “Category Winner” awards in multiple categories, demonstrating their high level of competence.

Shizuoka Distillery, Kanosuke Distillery, and Yusa Distillery also won “Category Winner” and advanced to the world round.

Although no distilleries won the “Category Winner” award, the strong performance of the other craft distilleries is a result of the steadily increasing quality of Japanese whisky.

Also, although not mentioned in this article, 19 brands won titles in the “New Make & Young Spirit” category. Niigata Kameda Distillery, Shindo Distillery, Igawa Distillery, Yamaga Distillery, Kusumi Distillery, Hida Takayama Distillery, and Tamba Distillery, all of which are regular distilleries at whisky festivals in Japan, have recently been producing solid results.

Recently, it is often said that “Japanese whisky has entered a period of elimination. It is expected that the distilleries will be further polarized into two groups: those that will be eliminated and disappear, and those that will grow and develop their skills.

The popularity of high-end whisky is increasing worldwide, and this is likely to further spur the “desire for authenticity” that is behind the continued rise in value.

We will continue to watch the development of Japanese whisky.

Ryuhei Oishi

Bartender at bar Shinkai Toranomon, born in Hokkaido.
After working at a restaurant in Tokyo, became a certified sommelier by the Japan Sommelier Association.
I became interested in Japanese whiskey, of which he had little knowledge, and started working at bar Shinkai. I went to distilleries to talk to the distillers and joined JWD to share their passion and information as a bartender.

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Japanese Whisky Dictionary