Suntory have confirmed that the Yamazaki 18-Year-Old Mizunara cask release will hit bars and bottle stores around the world in October.
The latest in a string of limited releases under huge demand from the Japanese whisky giant, this expression has been matured in the Japanese Mizunara oak. The casks traditionally give an elegant, floral, perfumed note to mature whisky but can be hard to manage with leakage issues.
Suntory’s Chief Blender Shinji Fukuyo – the company’s fourth – created this release from a range of Mizunara casks, the youngest being 18-years-old and the oldest being a “very small” portion of over 50-years-old.
Although the release has been known about for months, press release confirmation of an October release has come via the American and Japanese markets. There the bottle carriers a recommended retail of US$1,000. The Japanese market will host a ballot to allocate 200 bottles. There is understood to be a small allocation for Australian bars and stores, with the retail price likely to be between AUD$1,500 and $2,000.
What is almost certain is that the secondary market will see prices push well beyond the recommended retail. Previous limited editions – such as the Sherry Cask Yamazaki releases – have traditionally doubled in price overnight as bottles are flipped instantaneously.
Suntory have, in the past, moved to combat this with more bottles being allocated to bars to sell by the pour, guaranteeing that the bottles are opened rather than stored.
In a passionate press release quote about the 2017 edition Fukuyo said, “I wanted to reveal the whisky’s soul that is the art of Mizunara – a heightened sense and awakened palate engaged through aromas and flavours never known before. Encountering it should be a moment of epiphany.”
Mizunara is a rare oak grown in select Japanese regions. Its use because prevalent in whisky following the second world war when it was difficult for Japanese distilleries to import enough oak for their increased production. A hard wood, it is not ideal for whisky maturation (it leaks, the wood is hard to work with), but its floral notes are quintessentially Japanese.