Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year, New Beginnings

As we have just witnessed the new year transition I'd like to take the opportunity to once again thank all the supporters of Whiskies R Us, to wish you all great times ahead, and to reflect upon a memorable year. The year 2013 saw a relatively dramatic change in the Japanese whisky industry with a few unexpected surprises: a smaller domestic distillery thought to have little chance of winning prestigious awards over the big guns did so, and craft distillers set their sights on the American market. The former, Hombo Shuzo, as you know, took "World's Best Blended Malt Whisky" at the World Whisky Awards 2013 (for Mars Maltage 3+25), and the later being Chichibu and White Oak (Eigashima). Akuto-san has began promoting Chichibu in the US with various seminars, while White Oak is also in place to launch (as reported (here) by Chris at The Whisky Wall). 

Another notable refashion of the domestic industry, which you have all read about, was the shift towards Japanese whisky without an age statement. First with Suntory replacing their 10yo Yamazaki and Hakushu expressions, followed by Nikka dropping the 12yo Taketsuru and substituting it with the NAS that is arguably much younger. Supply versus demand? Yes, but perhaps following trends? It will be interesting to see this year, in 2014, where the NAS movement takes us all. I've heard people speculate the movement will continue on the domestic market where distilleries will continue the heavy highball drive. Some people have even suggested, or predicted, that Suntory's Yamazaki and Hakushu 12yo's will follow, at least for a short period on home shores, again just a speculation. 

Something else worth noting was the flourish of releases we saw last year (as I implied (here) in 2012), most notably the array of private releases from the smaller distilleries for major Japanese retailers, who now appear to have confidence in selecting casks and making private bottles available to their customers.These private releases have proved to be quite popular so it's only natural to presume we will be seeing more this year...well depending on cask availability. As for the big players, first things first, Hakushu Sherry Cask 2014 in Feburary if I'm not mistaken. Once again, expect this year to be full of surprises and exciting news, and I look forward to another year sharing with you all what I can.

Happy New Year...Cheers!


  1. Many thanks for your new year's message, Clint. For aficionados of Japanese whisky living outside of Japan, your blog is a treasure trove! It is always a pleasure to read about new releases, bar information or vintage tasting notes, and in this respect 2013 was no different from the previous years. I commend you for your efforts and shall look forward to another informative and entertaining year with Whiskies R Us in 2014!

  2. Once again, thank you for your kind words Pierre. It's these type of comments that drive me and Whiskies R Us forward. I look forward to providing lots more information this year with a few new interesting themes that I'm sure you will enjoy. Thanks for all the support over the years and I wish you all the best in the new year. Cheers.

  3. Talking of awards it would be great to see WRU get some wider recognition....THE go to blog for J whisky of 2013. Well done on a fantastic year and thanks for keeping us up to date. Looking forward to another interesting year.

    1. Thank you for your encouraging words Coleman, I appreciate your comment/feedback. WRU recieves lots of recognition, not formally, but from important readers such as yourself. That in itself is appreciative recognition. Like you, I'm also looking forward to another year, lets see what it presents. Like every year ill be introducing some new themes so keep your eyes out. If you enjoy something along the way please feel free to comment again. Cheers.

  4. As supporters of Whiskies R Us, we are very happy to read these truly completely and honest INDEPENDENT (from the J Whisky industry) reports!!!