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"SHINOBU" means “forbearance” in Japanese, symbolizing the spirit of a samurai,
like making great spirits which takes time, patience and persistence.

List of Major Awards

Gold Medal in the ISC for SHINOBU 10YO
Double Gold Medal in the SFWSC 2020 for the SHIN Malt 10YO
Gold Medal in the SFWSC 2020 for the SHIN Malt & SHINOBU 10YO
Category Winner in the WWA 2020 for SHINOBU 10YO & 15YO
Gold Medal in the 76th WSWA 2019 for SHINOBU Blended
Gold Medal in the SFWSC 2019 for SHINOBU Blended
1st Place Gold Medal in the IWC 2019 for SHINOBU Blended​


The story of
shinobu distillery

Shinobu Distillery is located in beautiful Niigata  prefecture of Japan, a place that is praised locally by its “three white treasures,” namely SNOW, RICE AND SAKE.

In the distillery lives a passionate whisky lover and an experienced brewer, Mr. Ken Usami, who also  founded  the craft beer brewery  called Niigata Beer 20 years ago in the same town. As an innovator by heart, Mr. Usami was the first brewer to apply SECONDARY BOTTLE FERMENTATION AND AGING in Niigata beer.

Mr. Usami dreams of creating a local whisky distillery that will be able to showcase the quality of local pure water and serves the passionate community of spirit lovers. Finally in 2017, Mr. Usami obtained the first whisky license for Niigata (another FIRST!) and thus started his journey of becoming a distiller.

While the distillery is still under construction, Mr. Usami wants to experiment with blending WORLD WHISKIES to create the unique flavours of  Japan. Thus the first expressions of Mizunara oak finish are born.

Treasured Wood
Oak in JAPAN


Mizunara oak, one of the rarest and most expensive types of oak in the world. Its story is deeply rooted in Japanese history.

During World War II, Japan was economically blocked by lots of countries and could not import oak barrels. At the end of the war, Japan soon faced the shortages of imported casks, so whisky makers had to use the native Japanese oak, Mizunara.

Mizunara oak is so treasured because the cost of the logs is quite high. It often takes 200 years or more for a mizunara tree to grow mature enough. The Japanese government also restricts logging of mizunara trees under the age of 80, making this type of Japanese oak even more hard to get for cask production. Mizunara oak offers complex notes of sandalwood, coconut, spice and Japanese incense, displaying the refinement of oriental flavour with powerful yet velvet mouthfeel.

Reference: Whisky AdvocateWine Enthusiast

the pure
water source


Niigata is well known locally for its “three white treasures,” namely snow, rice and sake. It is also a naturally blessed environment for pure water source; thus is a perfect location for making whisky.

In winter, when humid air from the sea passes over Japan and travels to the Pacific left side, it causes Niigata snowfall to reach up. The snow remains in mountaintop, and gradually melts from the middle of summer and flows through the rivers in Niigata. This water eventually comes back to become the pure water source of local breweries and distilleries.

~ Shinobu NAS expressions ~

Non-Age Expressions

Shinobu non-age statement (NAS) expressions  are made by carefully selected quality whiskies from different distilleries which are first reserved in ex-sherry and ex-bourbon casks and then finished with precious Japanese Mizunara oak in Japan. The blended expression contains 50% malt and 50% grain. The result is a unique fusion of flavours and dynamic explosion in palate yet so smooth and easy to drink.


The blended


by 2019 Ultimate Spirits Challenge

Softly roasted nuts, jellied pear, and honeysuckle all come through on the nose of this Japanese whisky. Black pepper and clove come through early on the palate, ripe citrus fruit and baked apples developing before a long, smooth finish.

700ml/750ml, 43%

The Pure Malt


by 2019 Ultimate Spirits Challenge

Telltale aromas of candied orange peel, toffee, sweet smoke, and toasted hazelnuts are augmented by distinctive herbal tea and spice notes. The palate is surprisingly mellow, with more fruit-forward characteristics bolstered by pepper and spice on the finish.

700ml/750ml, 43%

~ Shinobu VINTAGE ~


Shinobu vintage expressions are made by carefully selected quality whiskies from different distilleries which are first reserved in ex-sherry and ex-bourbon casks and then finished with precious Japanese Mizunara oak in Japan. 

All natural without colouring.



Fresh wood barrel dominates the spirit with a touch of vanilla and flowers that bring to breath of nectar;
Maltose, a little bit tones of fruits citrus, Mizunara oak, coffee beans;
Medium, woody, back to sweet aftertaste of maltose.

The flavor from alcohol is not that strong, compared to its labeled year, which tastes smooth and easy to drink.

700ml/750ml, 43%



Deep wood aroma, maltose, nectar, blueberry, Mizunara oak, milk coffee;
Oily, ripe fruit, lemon peel, leather, cinnamon, ginger;
Finished with a hint of sweet malt with aromas of wooden barrels and a touch of fruity flavour.

The sweet aftertaste is outstanding; barrel brings out different levels of spice flavours. Deep floral woody scent is also full of vitality.

700ml/750ml, 43%


~ Shinobu VINTAGE ~


The SHINOBU Lightly Peated Pure Malt Whisky blends shows a robust and profound body structure, with smoky and toasty oaks flavors. All SHINOBU whiskies are created without chill-filtration nor added color to protect and enhance their complex and robust character.

The peated flavors brings the SHINOBU 10YO Pure Malt Lightly Peated Whisky into another aspect, with complex aromas and different layers of tastes of seaweed and smoky flavors. All SHINOBU whiskies are created without chill-filtration nor added color to protect and enhance their complex and robust character.




Nose: Minty and creamy with some light peat and a touch of lemon. Hints of charcoal ash and smoke.
Palate: Moderate peaty flavor on the palate, mingled with toasted oak, charcoal ash, dry grass and a hint of saltiness.
Finish: Lingering taste of toasted wood with lots of sweetness from roasted malt.

700ml Alc.43%

Peated 10 YEARS OLD


Nose: Delicious honey aroma, with hints of chocolate, dry grass and bonfire from lightly peated malts.
Palate: Caramel, coffee, gentle smoky flavors followed by seaweed and vanilla scent.
Finish: Long and smooth with notes of salted caramel.

700ml Alc.43%


The SHIN malt

The Shin Malt Whisky is crafted by Mr. Ken Usami, the master blender of Shinobu Distillery who selected finest malt whiskies and finish them in casks made of Japanese Oak, Mizunara Wood. “Shin” stands for “Integrity”, one of the core principle of Samurai tradition.

Shin Malt Whiskies are well balanced between the woody flavor and incense of sandalwood from Mizunara Oak and the bold aged maltiness, which brings The Shin Malt Whisky a fruit forward and with a bit pepper and spice aftertaste.

Non-age Type


Elegant balance of smooth malt and harmonious mix of sweet spices. With a hint of hazelnut and woody note. Sweet vanilla and sandalwood aroma together with a hint of spice. 

All natural without colouring. Non-chill filtered.

700ml/750ml 48%

10 Years


Significant sweet aroma of dark dried fruit, like raisin, dates come forward on the nose, and with a touch of vanilla. Sweet vanilla and dark dried fruit followed by sandalwood, and oriental spices.

All natural without colouring. Non-chill filtered.

700ml/750ml 48%

15 Years


Significant wood aroma, Mizunara Oak, dark ripe fruit like blueberry, cinnamon.  Sweet malty note with significant woody flavor like sandalwood, that brings out different level of spices

All natural without colouring. Non-chill filtered.

700ml/750ml 48%


~ Contact us ~

Shinobu Distillery
Niigata Beer Co., Ltd.
5120 Echizenhama, Nishikan-ku,
Niigata City, Niigata Prefecture 953-0012, Japan
Tel 0256-70-2200    Fax 0256-70-2201