Why Buy: A truly one-of-a-kind, high-end bottling, loaded with umami depth and richness, and with an age statement (18 years) and long, sophisticated sherry cask finish that makes it stand apart from the scores of light and delicate Japanese whiskies.

What They're Saying: The critically-cautious Whisky Advocate singled it out, in a rare 94-point rave, for its "intensity of aromas," "umami and oak notes," and "long" finish, while The Whiskey Wash website awarded it 5 out of 5, hailing its "aromatic richness," "luxuriousness," and overall "elegance."

The Story: What makes this whisky so fascinating is that, while it's made in Japan, it isn't sold in Japan. It can't be. Because although Hikari Distillery, the producer, has distilled it from shochu – using barley fermented with koji – its lengthy stay in sherry oak casks has resulted, in the words of The Whiskey Wash, in a whisky that is far "too dark to qualify as shochu." What we have here, then, is a singularly unique expression, something halfway between shochu and Japanese whisky – and a spirit that, in Japan, with its pedigree and exacting execution, would likely cost 5 or 6 times as much. The 18 Year is the oldest in a line that also includes a 16 Year, a 12 Year, and a 10 Year, and the depth and intensity that come with extra aging can be tasted in every gorgeous, full sip.

Mash Bill: 100% barley, fermented with koji.

Our Tasting Notes: Start with the deeply resonant nose, with so many rich and beguiling umami notes swirling around it's difficult to settle upon just one, along with evocative whiffs of spice, leather, and oak. The palate is just as deep and developed, with flavors of dark chocolate, leather, raisin, and figs all weaving in and out of one another. The finish is focused and long, with lingering notes of wood, nuts, and leather.

ABV: 42% (84 proof).

Fun Fact: Hikari Distillery sits on the site of the former Koya Castle, which served to protect the prefecture's silk businesses. On the property today, there's a Shinto shrine to shield it from malevolence.

Our Guarantee: We always buy and source directly from the distiller, so you can be confident that your whisky will arrive in your hands with pristine provenance. Don't hesitate to secure yours today!


*Offer NOT valid in-store. This offer is made pre-arrival, with wines estimated to be delivered to your preferred store in Fall 2024. All sale prices are the lowest available at Total Wine & More and ONLY valid through Concierge Sales. No further discounts or coupons may be applied. Offer not valid in CT, KS, KY, MI, NC, NY, TN, VA, & WA. This offer is for ONE WEEK, or until sold out, and will expire on Tuesday, June 18, 2024.