THE STORY OF
Shinobu Distillery is located in beautiful Niigata prefecture of Japan, a place that is praised
locally by its “three white treasures,” namely SNOW, RICE AND SAKE. In the distillery lives a passionate whisky lover and an experienced brewer, Mr. Ken Usami,
who also founded the craft beer brewery called Niigata Beer 20 years ago in the same town.
As an innovator by heart, Mr. Usami was the first brewer to apply SECONDARY BOTTLE FERMENTATION AND AGING in Niigata beer.
Mr. Usami dreams of creating a local whisky distillery that will be able to showcase the quality of local pure water and serves the passionate community of spirit lovers. Finally in 2017, Mr. Usami obtained the first whisky license for Niigata (another FIRST!) and thus started his journey of becoming a distiller.
While the distillery is still under construction, Mr. Usami wants to experiment with blending WORLD WHISKIES to create the unique flavours of Japan. Thus the first expressions of Mizunara oak finish are born.
OAK IN JAPAN
RARE AND UNIQUE
Mizunara oak, one of the rarest and most expensive types of oak in the world. Its story is deeply rooted in Japanese history.
During World War II, Japan was economically blocked by lots of countries and could not import oak barrels. At the end of the war, Japan soon faced the shortages of imported casks, so whisky makers had to use the native Japanese oak, Mizunara.
Mizunara oak is so treasured because the cost of the logs is quite high. It often takes 200 years or more for a mizunara tree to grow mature enough. The Japanese government also restricts logging of mizunara trees under the age of 80, making this type of Japanese oak even more hard to get for cask production. Mizunara oak offers complex notes of sandalwood, coconut, spice and Japanese incense, displaying the refinement of oriental flavour with powerful yet velvet mouthfeel.
THE THREE WHITE TREASURES
Niigata is well known locally for its “three white treasures,” namely snow, rice and sake. It is also a naturally blessed environment for pure water source; thus is a perfect location for making whisky.
In winter, when humid air from the sea passes over Japan and travels to the Pacific left side, it causes Niigata snowfall to reach up. The snow remains in mountaintop, and gradually melts from the middle of summer and flows through the rivers in Niigata. This water eventually comes back to become the pure water source of local breweries and distilleries.