View Full Version : Any recommendations for bourbon to buy in Japan?
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?
Four Roses Platinum is a Japan only release I think.
Evan Williams 15 y/o. Good and inexpensive.
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:.
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)
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.
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.
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!
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