Karuizawa Distillers’ first distillery is being built just 800 metres from the abundant water source, ‘Nomatori’, in the foothills of Mount Asama, making it one of the highest distilleries in Japan, at 910 metres above sea level. Although the distillery will be ‘state of the art’, we will use traditional techniques overseen by award-winning Master Blender, Ian Chang. We truly believe the whisky produced here will rival the best from anywhere in the world, not just Japan.
However, it is not just about the liquid itself. It is about creating a destination for whisky-lovers and those interested in the provenance and quality of the product. The distillery will be equipped to welcome thousands of visitors every year, and will offer experiences through the on-site Whisky Academy, as well as tours of the distillery.
Koji and Ian, our founders
When our founders, entrepreneur Koji Shimaoka and Ian Chang met, their shared passion for this project quickly evolved. They almost immediately agreed on their mission – to create the finest Japanese whisky imaginable, in a region close to Koji’s heart – the greater Karuizawa area. Surrounding themselves with an experienced and unparalleled international team, they have driven the project forward to the construction phase it has now reached.
Join us on our journey...
…to create Karuizawa Distillers’ first ‘new legend’ in Japanese whisky. We would love you to join us, physically if possible, but spiritually, for sure, on this exciting quest. This offer to you is just the start
- but we hope you will stay with us, as our distillery is built and the spirit matures to perfection.
A few words from CEO, Koji Shimaoka
“I have been a resident of Karuizawa town for more than 20 years. In the early days, when I was commuting between Tokyo and Karuizawa, I used to pass by the old distillery, which was later closed down and demolished. I felt that it was my duty and destiny, as a resident and whisky-lover, to bring distilling back to the area.
We want to create a new legend, and to be able to do so, we found a world-class team, a beautiful location inside the forest, with a pure water source from the mountain, and also the support of the local government. Given all these three conditions, I am very confident we can, not only make the best whisky, but also provide the best whisky experience. When I met Ian, I thought there is no better person than him to carry on the iconic name of Karuizawa. We are aiming to become a global brand from the greater Karuizawa area and I am looking forward to seeing many whisky fans visit us in the future.”
Ian Chang, Master Blender
Ian Chang is the first master distiller and master blender from the Mandarin-speaking world. The number of awards he has won, for his whisky-making skills at Kavalan distillery, in Taiwan, would be the envy of most Scottish distillers. He now works exclusively for Karuizawa Distillers (KDI) and is the master blender for Komoro Distillery and any future KDI projects.
Ian has received more than 500 gold medals and trophies, including the world's prestigious IWSC, ISC, SWSC, WWA and MMA competitions.
Ian’s main personal accolades include:2015 WWA Icon of Whisky Distillery Manager/Master Distiller of the Year 2017 IWSC Distiller of the Year 2019, 2020, 2021 SFWSC Distiller of the Year title for 3 consecutive years
This exclusive offer to Wall Street Journal subscribers gives you the opportunity to order a one-of-a-kind, limited edition presentation box of six 200ml bottles of single malt whisky, from Komoro Distillery. Only 1000 of these incredible numbered collector’s pieces are available to pre-order, for a limited time, and only one per subscriber. The total cost of the pack is USD625, which will be delivered to you by December, 2026, once the whisky is at least 3 years old. Buy now and do not miss out on this once in a lifetime exclusive.
We wanted to create something both collectable and drinkable. The 6 bottles will be presented, together, as a beautiful pack, randomly numbered from 1 to 1000. The labels are designed by Japanese artist, Makiko Murase, and only when viewing all six 200ml bottles together, in order, will the full image become complete.
Our commitment to you is to deliver your pack to you by December, 2026. However, please understand that whisky is not bound by the usual regimental routine of life and we are committed to providing you the highest quality of spirit, so we may decide it needs to be matured a little longer before being bottled for you. We will keep you informed and let you know if there is any delay, as per the below.
We will keep you up to date at least twice a year, via email and the landing page, to let you know how we are progressing, plus any news on Komoro we think you might be interested in. You can choose to opt out of this, but we would love to stay in touch with you! We will also post updates here, as and when as we have any, so please do bookmark this page and check back regularly.
If your shipping address changes, please inform KDI of the change using this form, or the form attached to the emails that will be sent to you twice a year. Please note that KDI will not be held responsible for any non-delivery if we are not notified of the address change. Your shipping address must be a valid address in the following territories: Australia, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Netherlands, Poland, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, UK and USA. If your new shipping address does not qualify, we will not be able to ship the product to you and you will not be entitled to a refund in such circumstances.
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