Wednesday, June 18, 2014

4th Exclusive Nonjatta ‘Ghost Series’ Bottling: Kawasaki 1980/2014

Post by Stefan Van Eycken, Tokyo

Today, we’re thrilled to be able to announce details of the fourth release in our series of bottlings of rare Japanese whiskies featuring prints from the great Yoshitoshi’s “New Forms of 36 Ghosts”. As always, it is a really special release: a 1980 single cask grain whisky from the mysterious Kawasaki distillery.
Lost in the mists of time, all that is known about Kawasaki distillery is that it used to provide the backbone for Sanraku Ocean’s blends in the 70s and 80s. The distillery vanished at some point during the bubble years (nobody knows exactly when), but not without a trace.  A handful of casks were discovered in a warehouse in Yamanashi and then transferred to Chichibu distillery. A few of these were released as single casks by Akuto-san five years ago; others were used to make premium blends. We’re thrilled to be able to offer this 1980 Kawasaki #6165: not only is this just the 8th bottling of a single cask Kawasaki (and most likely the last), it is also the only known specimen from the 1980 vintage. It is also the oldest (in terms of age) bottled Kawasaki at the time of writing. These sort of catalogue data are interesting, but for us, it’s all about the quality of the juice, of course. So what’s it like?

On the nose, the initial impressions are a Middle Eastern spice shop, old rum, polished wood and a multitude of sweet delicacies: butter tablet, coconut spread, crema catalana and chinsuko cookies. But there’s a lovely savoury side to the whisky as well: apple balsamic spare ribs, rafte (Okinawan simmered pork belly) and some foie gras with apricot preserve. Then, if you dig deeper, you find loads of other tiny aromas: overripe Yubari melon, baked vanilla custard with nutmeg, tupig (Filipino sticky rice logs with coconut cream and molasses, wrapped in banana leaves), Dutch spice cake and hints of rosemary, eucalyptus, spearmint and maraschino cherries. Water spotlights the savoury side and the spices, but at the expense of some of the lovely sweet notes.

Nothing prepares you for the intense citrus attack on the palate: grapefruit, yuzu peel, kumquats and Seville oranges out in full force! As the citrus settles down, other fruit notes start to emerge – ripe mangoes and balsamic roasted stone fruits (peaches, plums and cherries) – but it doesn’t stop there. You do get a bit of the sweetness hinted at by the nose (coconut scones and vanilla custard) but not as much as you would think. You definitely get more of the savoury notes and lots of spice (cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg) on the palate. A subtle bitter transition (grapefruit albedo) leads into the long finish where you get echoes of the citrus along with brown sugar on toast, lychees, fig sorbet and hints of ginger and After Eights.

Incredibly complex and lush, this is the grain equivalent of those glorious early 80s Karuizawas – which shouldn’t come as a surprise, really, since they come from the same stable.
Now for the bad news: as with most whiskies this rare, quantities are limited. There are only 60 bottles and to give everyone who is interested a fair chance at obtaining a bottle, we – together with our partners at Malt City, who take care of the actual sale of our releases – have decided to go for the lottery approach that we tried out for the first time with our 2nd Ghost release.

Basically, interested parties can register for the lottery starting now (i.e. Wednesday, June 18th, from 4pm Japanese time). We will close the lottery application process on Tuesday, June 24th at 4pm, Japanese time. Then, after removing applications in breach of the rules (more about this below), an innocent hand – our editor’s five-year old son – will draw the lucky winners. Winners will be contacted on Tuesday, July 1st. (Please do not email us or Malt City before that date.) Winners will have one week to conclude the transaction. As always our releases are priced more than fairly. This Kawasaki will be 25,000 yen plus tax and shipping costs.

Our friends at Malt City have pretty impressive systems in place to remove applicants who try to game the system. (We’ve seen them in action when we had the lottery for our 2nd Ghost!) Attempting to enter multiple times is highly likely to have a negative impact on your chances of winning a bottle… so do read the fine print at the end of this post! Winners must conclude the transaction using an address and credit card that corresponds to the name and address used in the lottery application. Thanks, as always, for your continued support. We look forward to many more Ghost releases.

 ---Instructions to register---

- Go to this exclusive Malt City webpage.
- Please click the "Add to cart" button, and proceed in the NORMAL WAY. Entry is completed with this.
- No charge is made at this stage.
- Limited to one entry per person. Two or more entries by the same person will be disallowed.
- Entry is based upon the delivery address. Any entries with the same delivery address will be invalidated.
- Double (or more) entries will not be accepted.
- No forwarding services are accepted for this product. Malt City can only ship to a private address (the address of the person registering).
- Entry will close at 4pm (Japanese time) on June 24th.
- The Nonjatta team will draw the winners based on automatically assigned registration numbers.
- Malt City will email the winners and explain the purchase procedure on their website.
- The right to purchase the bottle is valid for 1 week after Malt City has contacted the winners (by email).
- Purchases by any people other than those chosen by the lottery will be disallowed.


Anonymous said...

Does the lottery allow for shipping addresses outside of Japan? I live in Taiwan.


Adrien T. said...

Wonderful Stefan! Congratulations on this release.

Laurens said...

another amazing release!
keeping fingers crossed :)

Stefan Van Eycken said...

Hundreds of people have already registered... so it seems like there is a lot of interest in this, which makes us very happy, of course!

Emil Alexander said...

Hopefully I can get this all the way to Scotland! (If I win ofcourse)
Preparing my taste buds already! :)

Unknown said...
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Anonymous said...

Hi ,
Has the draw taken place ?
Will only the winners be notified?

Stefan Van Eycken said...

Yes, as we wrote in the post, and on our FB page and twitter feed, all winners were contacted on July 1st. If you haven't received a message, that means you were not one of the lucky ones this time...

Anonymous said...

Thanks but there was no post on twitter.

renn208 said...

Well if for some bizarre reason a bottle goes unclaimed, please do give me a holler ;) I may not have won the lottery, but the offering is plenty exciting. Thank you!

Bret said...

...and already at online auction in Japan.

Stefan Van Eycken said...

The speculators move fast... we always hope our bottles end up in the hands of people who will truly appreciate them (which is to say, open and drink!), but it is hard to control, of course...

Friends of Malt Hamburg said...

I am one of the few lucky ones. We opened the bottle just after it arrived here, enjoyed it and shared it with some whiskyfriends. Thank you for this wonderfull whisky!