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Consolidated "Buy Whiskey in Japan" thread (was: Haneda/Narita Duty Free Whiskey)

Consolidated "Buy Whiskey in Japan" thread (was: Haneda/Narita Duty Free Whiskey)

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Old Apr 5, 17, 7:12 pm
  #541  
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I was surprised that in southern TX (where I was for several days earlier this week) that every liquor store I visited had a decent Japanese whisky selection. One dive bar I visited in Brownsville had 10 whiskys on the bar, including Yamazaki 12, Hakushu 12, several NAS, and Yamazaki 18.

Prices weren't great--Hakushu was $99 US at every store I saw it--but I was surprised at the supply. Disappointed at the amount of NAS Nikkas out there, but still, better than the US situation has been in a while.
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Old Apr 6, 17, 2:36 pm
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Originally Posted by Jigen666 View Post
4) China limits foreigners to 2 alcohol bottles. Bring more at your own risk.
Just following up on this. From what I read I can bring in 1.5 liters duty free and pay a duty/tax on amounts greater than this. Is this correct? Ordinarily I'd just ship it home (USA) but that seems to be even a worse idea.

https://www.travelchinaguide.com/essential/customs.htm

"Are cigarettes and alcohol duty-free?

Answer: up to 400 cigarettes or 100 cigars and up to 1.5 liters of alcoholic beverages (alcohol measure above 12 degrees) are duty-free either entering or exiting. More than the limited amount needs to be declared and a certain mount of duty needs to be paid."

If I buy more than 1.5 liters in Japan, do I pay a duty when entering and exiting? Does TWOV have any impact on this?
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Old Apr 6, 17, 4:26 pm
  #543  
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Here are my observations from a 3-week trip all over Japan, which included visits to over three dozen liquor stores:

- Availability of liquors with age statement is tight. Most independently run stores I visited had nothing at all in stock. I assume what limited supplies they get is reserved for their regular customers. Big national chains are your best bet.

- Finding stuff is a matter of luck. On my trip, I saw almost no Hibiki 12, a good amount of Hakushu 12 and Yamazaki 12, a bit of Hibiki 17, the occasional Yamazaki 18 and Hakushu 18, and even some Yamazaki 25, Hibiki 21, Hibiki 30, and Nikka 40. Nikka 12 is available almost everywhere.

- There is really no standard price, and the differences between the lowest and highest prices can be 30-50%. For instance, the range for Nikka 12 was 4.5k to 6.9k, for Hibiki 17, 12k-15.8k, for Yamazaki 18, 24.8k-45.8k, for Nikka 40, 500k-780k.

- Generally, the best deals for mid-range stuff (12/17/18) can be had at Don Quijote and BIC Camera. Chains like Liquor Mountain generally have much higher prices on mid-range stuff, but often also have much better availability of high-end stuff (if at eye watering prices, e.g., Hibiki 30 @ 298k).

- Prices vary by location even within the same chain. Platinum Donki in Shirokanedai had Yamazaki 12 for 8980, but at Donki Fukuoka the same product ran 11.9k. Conversely, Nikka 12 was cheaper in Fukuoka than Tokyo. The Liquor Mountain in Kyoto (near Hyatt) had the best availability of any store I visited, but prices were much higher there than at their Shinjuku location.

- Itís completely unpredictable what a store will have in stock; often, thereís nothing at all, but sometimes youíll be pleasantly surprised. Generally, if a store has a line of 80 people waiting for tax free processing, donít expect to find anything.

- If you arenít buying gifts, 50ml bottles are available much more widely and often will be better value than full size bottles. Many stores that have no full size bottles will have dozens of minis, and somehow the pricing of these hasnít kept up with the big bottles. I saw Hibiki 17 as low as 680 (=9520 for .7l, about 2.5k less than the cheapest full size bottle).

- Unless you have the time to visit dozens of stores, youíll have to buy whatever you can get. If you see Hakushu/Yamazaki 12 around 10k, Hibiki 17 around 12k, or Hakushu/Yamazaki 18 around 25k, donít hesitate to buy. You may find them slightly cheaper elsewhere, but unless you visit a ton of stores, thereís a real chance that you wonít see any more supplies of the stuff you passed up.

- As others have pointed out, you may find decent stock and prices outside Japan. I can get Hakushu/Yamazaki 18 in Portland @ $250 Ė 10% more than the cheapest I saw in Japan, but almost half of the most expensive. And no hours of shopping around required, although, as you can probably tell, I enjoyed the hunt.
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Old Apr 6, 17, 5:04 pm
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Originally Posted by jpdx View Post
Here are my observations from a 3-week trip all over Japan, which included visits to over three dozen liquor stores:

- Availability of liquors with age statement is tight. Most independently run stores I visited had nothing at all in stock. I assume what limited supplies they get is reserved for their regular customers. Big national chains are your best bet.

- Finding stuff is a matter of luck. On my trip, I saw almost no Hibiki 12, a good amount of Hakushu 12 and Yamazaki 12, a bit of Hibiki 17, the occasional Yamazaki 18 and Hakushu 18, and even some Yamazaki 25, Hibiki 21, Hibiki 30, and Nikka 40. Nikka 12 is available almost everywhere.

- There is really no standard price, and the differences between the lowest and highest prices can be 30-50%. For instance, the range for Nikka 12 was 4.5k to 6.9k, for Hibiki 17, 12k-15.8k, for Yamazaki 18, 24.8k-45.8k, for Nikka 40, 500k-780k.

- Generally, the best deals for mid-range stuff (12/17/18) can be had at Don Quijote and BIC Camera. Chains like Liquor Mountain generally have much higher prices on mid-range stuff, but often also have much better availability of high-end stuff (if at eye watering prices, e.g., Hibiki 30 @ 298k).

- Prices vary by location even within the same chain. Platinum Donki in Shirokanedai had Yamazaki 12 for 8980, but at Donki Fukuoka the same product ran 11.9k. Conversely, Nikka 12 was cheaper in Fukuoka than Tokyo. The Liquor Mountain in Kyoto (near Hyatt) had the best availability of any store I visited, but prices were much higher there than at their Shinjuku location.

- It’s completely unpredictable what a store will have in stock; often, there’s nothing at all, but sometimes you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Generally, if a store has a line of 80 people waiting for tax free processing, don’t expect to find anything.

- If you aren’t buying gifts, 50ml bottles are available much more widely and often will be better value than full size bottles. Many stores that have no full size bottles will have dozens of minis, and somehow the pricing of these hasn’t kept up with the big bottles. I saw Hibiki 17 as low as 680 (=9520 for .7l, about 2.5k less than the cheapest full size bottle).

- Unless you have the time to visit dozens of stores, you’ll have to buy whatever you can get. If you see Hakushu/Yamazaki 12 around 10k, Hibiki 17 around 12k, or Hakushu/Yamazaki 18 around 25k, don’t hesitate to buy. You may find them slightly cheaper elsewhere, but unless you visit a ton of stores, there’s a real chance that you won’t see any more supplies of the stuff you passed up.

- As others have pointed out, you may find decent stock and prices outside Japan. I can get Hakushu/Yamazaki 18 in Portland @ $250 – 10% more than the cheapest I saw in Japan, but almost half of the most expensive. And no hours of shopping around required, although, as you can probably tell, I enjoyed the hunt.
Thanks for the great information. Dare I ask with all that hunting what you actually came home with?
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Old Apr 6, 17, 9:12 pm
  #545  
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Originally Posted by WestCoastFlyer88 View Post
Thanks for the great information. Dare I ask with all that hunting what you actually came home with?
The >$1000 stuff is out of my price range, and I can get the Hak/Yam 18 here for $250. (Actually just swung by the liquor store three blocks from my house on my way home from work and they had 6 bottles, more that I saw at any store in Japan). Thus, we brought back about a dozen Hak/Yam 12 and Hibiki 17 minis, two Hibiki 17 full size bottles, a Nikka 12, and a Kurayoshi 18 (which I had never tried before, but a Donki sold it for a possibly erroneously low 12k yen). Declared at PDX customs, and were waived right through.
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Old Apr 7, 17, 9:56 pm
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Originally Posted by exerda View Post
and even some Yamazaki 25, Hibiki 21, Hibiki 30, and Nikka 40. Nikka 12 is available almost everywhere.

Where did you see Yamazaki 25 please?

I was there also and did a similar hunt but didn't see any 25 anywhere. I saw sherry cask but for 400,000 yen....
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Old Apr 7, 17, 9:57 pm
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Originally Posted by jpdx View Post
The >$1000 stuff is out of my price range, and I can get the Hak/Yam 18 here for $250. (Actually just swung by the liquor store three blocks from my house on my way home from work and they had 6 bottles, more that I saw at any store in Japan). Thus, we brought back about a dozen Hak/Yam 12 and Hibiki 17 minis, two Hibiki 17 full size bottles, a Nikka 12, and a Kurayoshi 18 (which I had never tried before, but a Donki sold it for a possibly erroneously low 12k yen). Declared at PDX customs, and were waived right through.
Originally Posted by jpdx View Post
Here are my observations from a 3-week trip all over Japan, which included visits to over three dozen liquor stores:

- Availability of liquors with age statement is tight. Most independently run stores I visited had nothing at all in stock. I assume what limited supplies they get is reserved for their regular customers. Big national chains are your best bet.

- Finding stuff is a matter of luck. On my trip, I saw almost no Hibiki 12, a good amount of Hakushu 12 and Yamazaki 12, a bit of Hibiki 17, the occasional Yamazaki 18 and Hakushu 18, and even some Yamazaki 25, Hibiki 21, Hibiki 30, and Nikka 40. Nikka 12 is available almost everywhere.

- There is really no standard price, and the differences between the lowest and highest prices can be 30-50%. For instance, the range for Nikka 12 was 4.5k to 6.9k, for Hibiki 17, 12k-15.8k, for Yamazaki 18, 24.8k-45.8k, for Nikka 40, 500k-780k.

- Generally, the best deals for mid-range stuff (12/17/18) can be had at Don Quijote and BIC Camera. Chains like Liquor Mountain generally have much higher prices on mid-range stuff, but often also have much better availability of high-end stuff (if at eye watering prices, e.g., Hibiki 30 @ 298k).

- Prices vary by location even within the same chain. Platinum Donki in Shirokanedai had Yamazaki 12 for 8980, but at Donki Fukuoka the same product ran 11.9k. Conversely, Nikka 12 was cheaper in Fukuoka than Tokyo. The Liquor Mountain in Kyoto (near Hyatt) had the best availability of any store I visited, but prices were much higher there than at their Shinjuku location.

- Itís completely unpredictable what a store will have in stock; often, thereís nothing at all, but sometimes youíll be pleasantly surprised. Generally, if a store has a line of 80 people waiting for tax free processing, donít expect to find anything.

- If you arenít buying gifts, 50ml bottles are available much more widely and often will be better value than full size bottles. Many stores that have no full size bottles will have dozens of minis, and somehow the pricing of these hasnít kept up with the big bottles. I saw Hibiki 17 as low as 680 (=9520 for .7l, about 2.5k less than the cheapest full size bottle).

- Unless you have the time to visit dozens of stores, youíll have to buy whatever you can get. If you see Hakushu/Yamazaki 12 around 10k, Hibiki 17 around 12k, or Hakushu/Yamazaki 18 around 25k, donít hesitate to buy. You may find them slightly cheaper elsewhere, but unless you visit a ton of stores, thereís a real chance that you wonít see any more supplies of the stuff you passed up.

- As others have pointed out, you may find decent stock and prices outside Japan. I can get Hakushu/Yamazaki 18 in Portland @ $250 Ė 10% more than the cheapest I saw in Japan, but almost half of the most expensive. And no hours of shopping around required, although, as you can probably tell, I enjoyed the hunt.

Where did you see Yamazaki 25 please and for what price?
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Old Apr 7, 17, 10:48 pm
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Originally Posted by Dan_G View Post
Where did you see Yamazaki 25 please and for what price?
Kyoto Liquor Mountain, 328k. Plus a couple others, but I didn't bother writing down all the crazy prices.
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Old Apr 8, 17, 4:33 am
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Originally Posted by jpdx View Post
Kyoto Liquor Mountain, 328k. Plus a couple others, but I didn't bother writing down all the crazy prices.
I'm looking around for the Yama 18 for days but just saw it once in Osaka for a crazy price. I already visited so many small and big stores but almost only find unaged bottles but nothing more. I'm in Tokyo right now any tip where to find the Yamazaki 18 for a reasonable price would be welcome
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Old Apr 8, 17, 6:55 am
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Originally Posted by Sayer View Post
I'm looking around for the Yama 18 for days but just saw it once in Osaka for a crazy price. I already visited so many small and big stores but almost only find unaged bottles but nothing more. I'm in Tokyo right now any tip where to find the Yamazaki 18 for a reasonable price would be welcome
Tokyo was at the end of my trip, so I had stopped taking notes of the crazy prices. I did see some Yamazaki 18 in Kyoto (45.8k, Kentboy's), Fukuoka (44.9k, Donki), and Nagasaki (45k, Aeon). The best bet for reasonable prices is BIC Camera -- IF they have availability (a big IF!) Hakushu 18 or Yamazaki 18 will run ~25k. Better deals may be available abroad -- my local liquor store in Portland, OR has the Yamazaki 18 for $249.80 and Hakushu 18 for $252. There are long dry spells with no availability at all, and then all of a sudden a large shipment comes in, only to sell out again in a matter of days.
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Old Apr 11, 17, 10:57 am
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Originally Posted by Sayer View Post
I'm looking around for the Yama 18 for days but just saw it once in Osaka for a crazy price. I already visited so many small and big stores but almost only find unaged bottles but nothing more. I'm in Tokyo right now any tip where to find the Yamazaki 18 for a reasonable price would be welcome
You may also want to try the Kakuyasu liquor shop chain. Their locations in Roppongi and Ebisu sometimes have the good stuff like Hibiki 17/21 and Yamazaki 12/18 and prices are reasonable. I got lucky and took home a case of Hibiki 21 a few weeks ago.
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Old Apr 11, 17, 12:04 pm
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Originally Posted by jpdx View Post
Tokyo was at the end of my trip, so I had stopped taking notes of the crazy prices. I did see some Yamazaki 18 in Kyoto (45.8k, Kentboy's), Fukuoka (44.9k, Donki), and Nagasaki (45k, Aeon). The best bet for reasonable prices is BIC Camera -- IF they have availability (a big IF!) Hakushu 18 or Yamazaki 18 will run ~25k. Better deals may be available abroad -- my local liquor store in Portland, OR has the Yamazaki 18 for $249.80 and Hakushu 18 for $252. There are long dry spells with no availability at all, and then all of a sudden a large shipment comes in, only to sell out again in a matter of days.
Which store in Portland if you don't mind me asking? I have a friend who lives there than could help get me a bottle. I'm based in Seattle.
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Old Apr 11, 17, 12:16 pm
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Originally Posted by illumina0 View Post
Which store in Portland if you don't mind me asking? I have a friend who lives there than could help get me a bottle. I'm based in Seattle.
Forgive the OT: http://www.oregonliquorsearch.com/ will search the entire state for inventory, price, and specific store location(s).
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Old Apr 11, 17, 12:35 pm
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This may not help since Hibiki is not in stock, but Bic Camera has a reserve in-store inventory option for pick-up
Domestic Whiskey:
http://sake.biccamera.com/bs/disp/CS...o=001290010&q=

I believe the website states online reservation with in-store pick up will give the most advantageous price if there are price increases after reservation or in-store price differences. They offer the in-store reservation in a few languages.
http://www.biccamera.com.e.lj.hp.tra...keep-howto.jsp

It is also handy if you have some online shopping to do and want to combine it with tax-free.
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Old Apr 11, 17, 1:57 pm
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Originally Posted by rustykettel View Post
Forgive the OT: http://www.oregonliquorsearch.com/ will search the entire state for inventory, price, and specific store location(s).
They did get a huge shipment in about 10 days ago, and the Yamazaki 18 evaporated in a matter of days. Hakushu 18 is still widely available.

Note that counts of 1-2 on this site may represent phantom availability, and places that have 10+ may have some reserved for bars or regular customers. The site shows the unsold, but not necessarily correct and available, inventory.
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