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Shibui is a new, independent bottler, who sources, blends, and bottles some of the finest, most distinctive whiskies from around the world. In the Japanese language, shibui means “tasteful”, or “old school cool” (this conjures up Steve McQueen or Nina Simone for us). Apply this term to whisky, and we’re presented with some of the most interesting, and affordable, bottles on the market. We’ve selected these two bottlings (of the nine released in the US) for their unique character, value, and overall drinkability.
From Christopher Null of Drink Hacker: “Distilled at Masahiro Distillery from rice [and black koji]. Aged in virgin oak casks for 10 years. This is an intense and exotic monster that challenges all expectations of whisky, Japanese or otherwise. The nose offers a pungent note of rich, oily wood, lemon Pledge, and white pepper — all swirled up in an intensely fruity perfume. The whisky takes a wild gear shift on the palate, where notes of Asian pear, crisp apple, and peach meld with a heavily floral perfume that brings in notes of thyme, black pepper, and jasmine.”