View Full Version : Any recommendations for bourbon to buy in Japan?

05-31-2011, 23:32
I am so retardedly excited right now....I am going back to Japan for the first time in 6 years, and the first time since I lived there for over 4, in 2 days....and I unfortunately discovered how great bourbon is AFTER I moved home to the States and found out to my dismay just how amazing the bourbon market is in Japan....so now I am going, and I am hoping some nice souls can help arm me with some knowledge....

Do any of you fine SBers have some preferred choices of Japan market bourbon that you think I should pick up? I am going to look for barrel strength Blanton's, for sure, and definitely a bottle of Maker's Mark black (I think it's 96 proof...I used to get it in Japan, actually, before I had a good sense of the tasty stuff)...but after that, I am clueless.....help?

Arigato....and yoroshiku.


05-31-2011, 23:48
Four Roses Platinum is a Japan only release I think.

06-01-2011, 01:56
Evan Williams 15 y/o. Good and inexpensive.
Joe :usflag:

06-01-2011, 02:10
The Blanton's Straight From the Barrel is (almost always) excellent.

I use Kawachi-ya a lot for online purchases. Good selection, usually best price. You can window shop, or have a friend in Japan order it for you to pick up when you get here. (Usually, shipping inside Japan is by the order, not the bottle. It's probably less than 1000 no matter how many bottles you order at least up to a dozen.)


No Barrel Strenghth Blanton's there now, 'tho.... but ...

Kawachi-ya link to Four Roses Barrel Strength:

Four Roses Platinum


You can also try other Rakuten sites.

If you'll be in Tokyo, you gotta go to Tanaka-ya, very near Mejiro station. Good selection of bourbon, mind-boggling selection of single malt. Bottles on close-out ... better than Tokyo Disneyland for my money :grin:.

06-01-2011, 05:07
I sent the following to another member who recently asked a similar question:

Evan Williams 12 year (http://www.heavenhill.co.nz/prod01_copy%284%29.htm)

Evan Williams 15 year (http://thumbnail.image.rakuten.co.jp/s/?@0_mall/kawachi/cabinet/ikou_20091008/img10161438872.jpg)

God's Homemade & Big Al's (http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=9146&d=1247149934)

Four Roses Black Label (http://www.fourroses.us/products/black)

Four Roses Super Premium/Platinum (http://www.fourroses.us/products/super_premium)

Fighting Cock 15 year (http://www.bourbonenthusiast.com/forum/DBvd.php?id=71&task=displaybottling)

American Cowboy (various ages) (http://thumbnail.image.rakuten.co.jp/s/?@0_mall/kawachi/cabinet/products2/cowboy8yo.jpg)

Very Olde St. Nick (various ages) (http://thumbnail.image.rakuten.co.jp/s/?@0_mall/kawachi/cabinet/products3/stnick12years.jpg)

Black Death (http://thumbnail.image.rakuten.co.jp/s/?@0_mall/kawachi/cabinet/products8/96749993161.jpg)

Yellow Roses of Texas (http://thumbnail.image.rakuten.co.jp/s/?@0_mall/kawachi/cabinet/products8/4974192032117_1.jpg) (various ages)

Additionally, if you search SB, there are some old threads
which may help:

this one (http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7840)

this one (http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5534) (with reviews from a member in Japan)

06-02-2011, 07:06
Unfortunately my favorite Kawachi-ya storefront in Shibuya closed, but as a chain I recommend its selection.

Even more unfortunately, the Makers black wax is long out of production -- if you find any, grab it all because it's export-only and a dusty! DFS will have the IW Harper cologne-bottle decanter, Wild Turkey 8yo and (maybe) 12yo.

The EW15 and FC15 should be the same juice -- pick the cheaper one. I have become fond of the EW12 in the red label as a value pour. (The Yellow Roses are rumored to be the same as well -- pick your age and proof...)

As a splurge, I second (third? fourth?) the FR Platinum/Superpremium. The Very Old St. Nicks and Old Man Winters used to be great but less so in recent years/vintages.

06-02-2011, 08:29
Duh... just looked at my own avatar!

Back row: Four Roses Black (try but don't buy), Four Roses Platinum (bring home)
Front row: Wild Turkey 12yo (meh unless you're a big WT fan), Makers Mark black wax (sorely missed), IW Harper Gold Label (don't even bother trying)

Another Japan-only oddity is Early Times brown label as a KSBW (which I'm told is the Old Forester mashbill.) Early Times yellow label is rumored to be the same stuff as the new ET 354.

06-10-2011, 14:12
I found a great bottle of the IW Harper 12 year, in the super swanky "decanter bottle." It's a lighter flavor, clean, and smooth....dig it.

I would have gotten the 4R Super Premium, but honestly, I couldn't stomach it costing $100 US due to the nasty exchange rate.

I sadly never saw the Blanton's barrel strength, only their crappy 80 proof cut stuff, which I have 0 interest in....sort of a bummer.

Thanks for all the help, yo!