Shizuoka 2019 K / W (Vintage-Whisky)

Shizuoka 2019 K / W (Vintage-Whisky)

Israeli importer Vintage-Whisky (remember their tasty Caol Ila 2006) released two private cask bottlings from Shizuoka. Both spirits were distilled on the same day in December 2019 and filled into ex-bourbon casks. One release is from the Karuizawa still (K type), the other from the direct wood fire wash still (W type). A nice head-to-head from this young Japanese distillery.


Shizuoka K – 3 yo 2019 (52,7%, OB for Vintage-Whisky 2023, ex-bourbon cask #497, 44 btl.)

Nose: we’re greeted by lemons and bitter almonds, leading to sweeter citrus (mandarin) and a fatty element (wax candles, lightly scented). Then beautiful varnish and hints of sourdough. White cedar oil. Nice one.

Mouth: quite punchy, revolving around bittersweet freshness, reminding me of a gin & tonic with slices of grapefruit. Juniper berries, white pepper, lemon peels. Some oily notes again. Then subtle grainy sweetness in the background, with hints of melon, vanilla and some solventy notes.

Finish: medium length, sweet and spicy, with nice fruits (banana perhaps) coming forward.

Typical K still: really balanced, with rather unique touches of botanicals and a nice fatty side. Not all single casks are excellent in my opinion, but this is a good selection. Only available from



Shizuoka W – 3 yo 2019 (53,5%, OB for Vintage-Whisky 2023, ex-bourbon cask #494, 44 btl.)

Shizuoka W 2019 - cask 494 - Vintage-Whisky

Nose: richer and way more muscular, with a warming (almost ashy) note. Less polished, instead more greasy. Faint hints of fermenting fruits and whiff of rum, as well as more oaky notes (including vanilla and floral touches) shining through. Vegetal oils. A very light acetic whiff too.

Mouth: sweeter and spicier than the K. The feeling of gin botanicals really stands out, with a bigger maltiness, caraway seeds and oranges in the background. More creamy vanilla. Later some leathery notes and a suggestion of peat appear.

Finish: quite long, still spicy and oakier, with a slightly more spirity edge than in the K version.

In general I don’t have a clear preference towards K or W, it really depends on the bottling. The W version is always more full-bodied and often more complex, but in this case it seems hotter and less balanced than the K still. Overall a very nice whisky though, especially taking the age in consideration. Only available from Score: 85/100