MATSUI SAKURA CASK JAPANESE SINGLE MALT WHISKY

KURAYOSHI, JAPAN

 

Why Buy: Here it is, folks: the Japanese Whisky of the Year 2024 and the Japanese Single Malt of the Year 2024, as selected by Jim Murray's famed Whisky Bible. One consequence of this remarkable double victory for Matsui's Sakura Single Cask is that demand for it has spiked across the globe, but we were able to secure small allocations, along with Matsui's excellent and just-released 5 Year Single Cask. If you've yet to experience a Matsui single malt, or even the charms of Japanese whisky generally, these will make superlative introductions. And if you're already a fan, this is a chance to renew your acquaintance with the exquisite distinction and gentle grace that have made Matsui such a revered name around the world. But don't sit on this one, folks; quantities are limited, and Japanese whisky typically goes fast.
 

The Bottling: The label design for these bottles incorporates the work of the artist Kikukawa Eizan, renowned for his many portraits of women traipsing through fields of cherry blossoms. 
 

The Story: Northwest of Kyoto lies Tottori Prefecture, and within this rugged but lush region – much of which has been designated a national park –  sits the majestic Mount Daisen, which provides the revered groundwater, filtered through volcanic rock, for all Matsui whiskies. The water is renowned for its great purity — a quality that conveys in every pristine sip. After distillation at the famed Kurayoshi Distillery, it ages in a sakura, a cherrywood cask. In Japanese culture, the cherrywood has often been linked with ephemerality, the passing nature of all good things and of life. It is another water source, the nearby Sea of Japan, that enables these whiskies to become more refined and mature as they age. Not unlike those distilleries along the Scottish coasts, temperatures in the town of Kurayoshi can reach 100 degrees in the summer and below freezing in the winter. These variable temperatures are essential to producing whiskies of complexity and distinction.
 

Our Tasting Notes: 

* Single Malt Sakura Cask: The cherrywood casking makes its presence felt throughout, beginning with a delicate note of cherry blossoms that teases the nose and lingers on the palate. This light floral aspect, combined with the rich malt character, makes for a dram of great harmony, one that communicates both gorgeous top notes and resonant bass notes. On the palate, you'll find hints of baked apples, buttercream, and dried lemon peel. The finish is long and smooth, and whispers of lemon curd, fresh wood, and toasted almond. 

* 5 Year Sakura Single Cask: This expression is rested full term in sakura casks, which lends even more cherry blossom depth and deepens the profile. The nose opens with scents of mint, plum, dark cherries, and, in the background, cedar and incense. The palate opens with chocolate covered cherries, fruit notes and the sweetness and depth of the malted barley. The finish is robust and complex, and you'll revel in the heady swirl of associations that takes you home: chocolate, orange zest, and, yes, cherry blossom.

 

Specs: Both were distilled from 100% malted barley, with no use of chill filtering. 
 

ABV: Sakura Single Cask, 43% (86 proof); 5 Year Sakura Single Cask, 48 (96 proof).
 

Fun Fact: In Scotland, it is routine for distillers to trade barrels with one another, as they seek to discover the exact perfect cask for their expressions. Not so in Japan, where producers are highly competitive, and vigilantly guard their methods.
 

Our Guarantee: We always buy and source directly from the estate, so rest assured: your single malts will arrive in your hands with pristine provenance. Order yours today!


 

*Offer NOT valid in-store. This offer is made pre-arrival, with wines estimated to be delivered to your preferred store in Summer 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 KS, MI, NC, NM, NY, SC, TN, VA, & WA. This offer is for ONE WEEK, or until sold out, and will expire on Tuesday, May 21, 2024.