Either I have been walking around the last decade with my eyes closed, or recently, for various possible reasons, new additions of home brand whisky have been sprouting up on the shelves of Japanese supermarkets. I’d like to think with confidence it’s the aforementioned, as an avid pursuer of Japanese whisky I’d hate to think it was the former. Days after writing the post “Bang for Buck Blend”, I popped into another one of many local supermarkets out of curiosity. There, on the shelves in Coop, were 1.8 litre plastic bottles of New Calm blended whisky. This home brand blend also sports a heavily cheap looking label, but the thing that sets New Calm apart from the Max Value blend is the significant and blatantly recognizable Nikka plastic cap. For anyone who has stepped foot in a Japanese supermarket will know there is a wide variety of cheap blends in large plastic bottles, such as the widely available King Whisky “Rin”. Such whiskies come in a variety of sizes and are dirt cheap, cheaper it seems than the recent addition of Coops blend. This is somewhat interesting while concerning. Even the Black Nikka blend that comes in 1.8 litres is cheaper (1850 Yen) than New Calm (2400 Yen), even though it sports the same plastic Nikka cap. How could this be, does this mean that the quality of the home brand blend obviously produced by Nikka exceeds the taste and quality of Black Nikka? It could be as simple as a branded whisky being marketed under a home brand, as it often happens with other products, but why the price variance? Can it be that New Calm contains finer ingredients? Call me paranoid but it’s just not logical and there’s more than meets the eye. I wouldn’t buy either of the blends but out of curiosity it would be interesting to compare New Calm with Black Nikka.