Fine & Rare: Shirakawa 1958

Shirakawa 1958

Japan's first-ever bottled Single Malt Whisky

The Story

One of the rarest Japanese whisky in the world, from the old Shirakawa Distillery brought to light by the Tomatin Distillery.

Its rarity stems from the fact that the distillery is rarely even heard of and its appearance in auctions and secondary markets are even rarer.

Like many Japanese distilleries of the time, Shirakawa primarily produced whisky meant for blending. Its "King Blended Whisky" became a prominent drink in the 1950s and 60s. The first ever whisky to bear the Shirakawa name was in the mid-1980s, the 'King Whisky Shirakawa Pure Malt' a 12 Year Old bottled at 43%.

The Distillery

The distillery was opened in 1939 in Fukushima Prefecture, approximately 200km north of Tokyo by Daikoku Budoshu, a large Japanese producer of wines and spirits.

The distillery was later acquired by Takara Shuzo in 1947, following WW2. Shirakawa distillery operated for more than six decades. Interestingly enough, they only produced malt whisky between 1951-1968.

Shirakawa Distillery closed at a time when the popularity of whisky was on the rise, having been used as a bottling plant in its latter years before eventually being demolished in 2003.

The Whisky

The whisky produced at Shirakawa was rumored to be of exceptional quality, however due to the Japanese preference of blended whisky, most of it were used in blends instead of being released as a standalone whisky.

Intrigued by Shirakawa, Stephen Bremner, (MD of Tomatin Distillery Co) researched long lost documents and collected anecdotal information from previous employees and finally located a stash of Shirakawa Distillery's final remaining single malt Japanese whisky.

The liquid he found is one that had been distilled in 1958 and transferred to ceramic jars after being aged in cask. When Shirakawa shuttered, it was put into stainless steel tanks at Takara Shuzo's Kyushu factory where it lay untouched.

This bottle will be the earliest single vintage Japanese whisky ever bottled & the only official single malt bottling from the Shirakawa Distillery.

Tasting Notes

The earliest known Japanese Whisky ever bottled, with only 1,500 bottles filled with liquid dating back to 1958. An incredibly exquisite and historic single malt.

Tasting notes taken from The Whisky Exchange.

Nose: Resinous, slight dry earth, dried citrus peels, a hint of wax. Aromatic. A drop of water makes it more vibrant and also shows clear maturity as well as a hint of incense. Exotic.

Palate: The palate is expansive with a succulent texture and hints of fragrant grass. Fruits emerge in the middle. Layered, spiced, and dry. Water brings out ash from an incense burner, a satisfying mouthfeel and surprisingly perky acidity.

Finish: Nicely balanced and persistent on the finish which picks up mint flavouring and makes it more camphor-like.

This fine & rare whisky is available for purchase at for S$42,600. Shop at ease and add this historic Japanese single malt to your collection today!


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