A distillery providing a tour of its production process,
where you taste whisky with your five senses
For all people who love whisky
Saburomaru Distillery is the origin of Wakatsuru Brewery’s whisky making that has continued since 1952.
Come and experience everything about the process of producing unblended whisky
from malt while appreciating Tonami’s great nature with rich water and green.
Click to view the details of each facility.
Production process of whiskey
Two-rowed barley, a type of barley, is the ingredient of malt whisky. The starch contained in this two-rowed barley creates alcohol, but we must change starch into sugar. Germination starts when barley is submerged in water for a few days and the enzyme generated in this process changes starch into sugar.
We stop the germination at a certain point, and then, dry the barley to stop the absorption of water.
To dry the barley, we heat up peat and coal below the germinating barley and blow hot air. This creates a unique smoky flavor. The germinating barley dried in this way is called malt. We are importing malt from the UK.
Malt, the ingredient of whisky, is ground to facilitate saccharification. The freshly ground malt allows greater enzymatic activity and saccharification from more aromatic malt. Saburomaru Distillery uses AR2000, a malt mill manufactured by Alan Ruddock Engineering Ltd., whose performance has been proven in Scotland.
Mixing finely ground malt and warm water activates the enzyme contained in the malt and triggers saccharification that changes starch into sugar. The sugar solution left after the saccharification is filtered to extract sweet wort. The sugar content at this stage is about 20%, and mother water with a higher temperature than the first time is added in the second extraction to get more sugar.
Wort temperature is reduced, wort is transferred to a fermenter, and yeast is added for fermentation. It is an enameled fermenter. Yeast is added to the wort during fermentation to decompose the sugar in the wort and change it to alcohol and carbon dioxide, which creates the distinctive aroma and taste of whisky. Fermentation is completed in about three days, and a fermentation liquor with an alcohol content of about 7& to 8% (wash) is produced.
Distillation is an important process in whisky making. Malt whisky is made by distilling twice using a single copper distiller called a pot still. This is cooled and liquefied to extract alcohol and aroma component to produce unblended whisky called new pot” The alcohol content at this stage is about 70%.
* Some of the pot stills having an effect on whisky flavor that we use are straight copper distillers, whose elbows that easily wear were made by local craftspeople of Takaoka copperware.
Whisky before storage and aging process is called new pot.
The alcohol content of new pot is about 70%, which is adjusted by adding mother water until it becomes 63.5%, the optimal alcohol content for barrel aging.
Water, oxygen, and alcohol of new pot filled in bourbon barrels get mixed in the barrels over many years, which absorbs the components of the barrels to change from a colorless and transparent liquid to the distinctive amber color of whisky. The aging period is at least three years, which may be extended to decades.
Wakatsuru Brewery has two types of aging cellars.
One is a natural aging cellar placed inside the distillery.
The whisky is aged through different seasons and changes in morning and evening temperatures.
The other one is a low-temperature aging cellar for storing materials such as sake lees.
The temperature of this aging cellar is kept low all year around, which allows slow aging of the content (Tourist entry to the low-temperature aging cellar is prohibited to maintain the temperature inside).
At Saburomaru Distillery, we are aging our whisky by making effective use of the characteristics of each aging cellar.
There are no two barrels of whisky that tastes the same. Blending is the process of determining the aging peak of each barrel and bringing out its characteristics to make one plus one much more than two.
We are exhibiting the history of the distillery and manufacturing process.
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