Focus On: Shinobu Pure Malt Range
January 10, 2023 –––––– Jonny McCormick
Shinobu Distillery is located in the coastal city of Niigata on the west coast of Japan. The Niigata prefecture is famed for its “Three White Treasures,” namely sake, rice, and snow. Shinobu translates as forbearance, which is considered an important trait in Japanese culture. The distillery is currently expanding its capacity and building a second one nearby. The Shinobu whiskies were first launched in 2018, and the range is non-chill filtered and bottled without added color. Master blender Usami Ken blends malt whiskies aged in sherry and bourbon casks, but his use of mizunara oak cask finishing across the range is what creates the allure for whisky lovers.
Try These Whiskies From Shinobu
Shinobu Pure Malt 15 year old Mizunara Oak Finish
92 points, 43%, $195
Perfumed and exotic seasoned woods, butterscotch, sandalwood, manuka honey, pepper, gentle clove, charred oak, and hints of dried cherry and strawberry on the nose. This is superb, with a smooth oily mouthfeel and deep reserves of fruitiness. There’s grapefruit, apricot, toffee, a slight peppery smokiness, and leather, then it settles to flavors of dark toffee and vanilla pods, with oak tannins on the finish.
Koshi-No Shinobu Pure Malt Lightly Peated 10 year old Mizunara Oak Finish
91 points, 43%, $120
Give this a little time and space, as the rich aromatic mizunara notes lie tantalizingly beyond the garden bonfire smoke; then there’s licorice, heather honey, deep wood notes, and chocolate hobnobs. A flavorsome blend with a trajectory that spans iced coffee, malt, pepper, runny caramel, clove, chocolate milkshake, oak char, melting chocolate bombs, and peppery smoke.
Shinobu Pure Malt 10 year old Mizunara Oak Finish
91 points, 43%, $115
A nose of nutmeg, vanilla, and dried apple ring, with a honeyed richness and mizunara influence. It spreads across the taste buds with flavors of creamy panna cotta, canned peaches, butterscotch, and graceful rolling spices on a slow crescendo, building toward notes of malt, baked citrus, chocolate-chunk granola, and a finish that is satisfyingly rich and creamy.
Shinobu Pure Malt Mizunara Oak Finish
89 points, 43%, $70
The inviting nose has heather honey, beeswax, vanilla sponge, green apple, pear, grapefruit, white pepper, and notes of exotic woods. This blend has excellent balance: The mizunara exerts influence without dominating the nose. The palate has light yellow fruits, lemon, creamy fudge, pepper, fruit tarts, grapefruit, and a finish of nutmeg, cinnamon, and milky coffee.