shizuoka pot still w first edition featured

Shizuoka Pot Still W (100% Imported Barley First Edition)

It’s been over two years since I first tasted single malt from Shizuoka. This Japanese distillery initially made headlines when it acquired the equipment from the former Karuizawa Distillery. Since then, Shizuoka has become one of the brightest stars of the Japanese craft whisky movement. Today I’ll take a closer look at their Shizuoka Pot Still W.

The Shizuoka Pot Still W was made in the distillery’s wood-fired wash still. This will be my first acquaintance with spirit from Shizuoka’s wood-fired pot still. While the distillery’s ex-Karuizawa still is indirectly heated with steam (check my review of the Shizuoka Prologue K here), the wood-fired pot still is directly heated. With wood, of course.

Indirectly heated pot stills are the industry standard. They generally reach a temperature of 150°C. But the directly heated Shizuoka still hits temperatures of up to 800°C. For an in-depth explanation on why that matters, you should probably head over to my interview with Kwanele Mdluli. He’s the former distillery manager of Glen Garioch, a Highlands distillery that installed a direct-fired wash still just a few years ago.

The Shizuoka Pot Still W is distilled from 100% imported barley. Most of it (70%) was peated malt from Scotland, but the mash bill also included 20% unpeated malt from Scotland, and 10% German beer malt. The whisky matured in ex-bourbon barrels and new American oak barrels.

shizuoka pot still w first edition

Shizuoka Pot Still W (55.5%, OB, 2022)

Nose: Gentle, earthy wood smoke is paving the way for notes of furniture polish, sandalwood and almond paste, along with bright citrus (grapefruit mainly), a touch of nectarines and mown hay. A whisper of heather flowers too.
Taste: The oily mouthfeel is impressive. The (earthy) peat is more assertive than in the few other Shizuoka I’ve tasted so far. Also sandalwood, accompanied by tobacco. A sliver of mushy bananas, charred lemons and black pepper too.
Finish: Medium to long with lingering smoke, a nice salinity and lemons.

The nose is civilised and elegant. More to my liking than the palate, which is polished yet the peat is given much more free reign. Technically a very good whisky.


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