Best Japanese Whiskies

Japanese whiskey has been praised for its unique style, winning numerous awards. The popularity of Japanese whiskey has grown in recent years, with more and more people wanting to try this unique liquor.

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So, what makes Japanese whiskey so special?

Let’s take a closer look.

The first thing that sets Japanese whiskey apart from other types of liquor is the way it is distilled. Japanese distilleries use a process called “mizunara aging.” This involves aging the whiskey in barrels made from a type of oak tree found only in Japan. The mizunara oak imparts a unique flavor to the whiskey, giving it a woody, slightly sweet taste.

Japanese whiskey is also known for its smoothness. This is due in part to the fact that most Japanese whiskeys are blended, rather than being made from a single type of grain spirit. Blending results in a more complex flavor profile and a smoother finish.

Finally, the water used to make Japanese whiskey is worth mentioning. The water used in Japanese whiskey production comes from underground springs that are rich in minerals. This gives the finished product a distinctively clean flavor.

Types of Japanese Whisky

Japanese whisky is a unique style of liquor that is made from a variety of different grains and stills. This makes it versatile and appealing to a broad population. Suntory is known for producing some of the best Japanese whisky in the world.

There are two main types of Japanese whisky: single malt and blended. Single malt whisky is made from 100% malted barley and is typically aged in sherry casks, giving it a deep, rich flavor.

Blended whisky, on the other hand, is made from a mixture of different grains including wheat, corn, and rye. While single malt whisky is more expensive, many aficionados believe that blended whisky has more depth and complexity.

The first Japanese distillery was founded by Shinjiro Torii in 1923. Torii wanted to create a whisky that would suit the palate of his countrymen and so he hired Masataka Taketsuru, a young man with experience working at Scottish distilleries, to oversee production.

Taketsuru returned to Scotland to learn the art of whisky-making before coming back to Japan and helping to build the Yamazaki and Hakushu distilleries.

Japanese Whisky- A Taste of East Asia

Though the name “whisky” might give you the impression that this liquor is similar to Scotch whisky or American bourbon, Japanese whisky actually has a taste and production style that is unique to East Asia. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the key characteristics of Japanese whisky and what makes it so special.

1. One of the most immediately noticeable things about Japanese whisky is its light color. This is due to the fact that Japanese distillers use white rice instead of malted barley in the mashing process. The use of rice results in a lighter-bodied spirit that is lower in fusel oils and congeners (organic compounds that contribute to the flavor and aroma of alcoholic beverages).

2. Japanese whisky is typically distilled using pot stills, which are more traditional than the column stills commonly used in Scotland and the United States. Due to the small size of most Japanese distilleries, pot stills are often preferred because they can be operated by a single person. Additionally, pot stills tend to produce a richer liquid with more complex flavors.

3. Most Japanese whiskies are blended, meaning that they are created by combining different types of whisky from various barrels. Blending helps to create a more consistent flavor profile from batch to batch and also allows for greater creativity on the part of the distiller. For example, a blended whisky might contain malt whisky distilled in a pot still as well as grain whisky distilled in a column still.

4. One final notable characteristic of Japanese whisky is its use of peat smoke during the drying process. Peat smoke imparts a distinctive smoky flavor to the malt, which can be detected in the finished product. However, because peat is not native to Japan, most Japanese whiskies use peat imported from Scotland or other countries where it grows naturally.

From sweet to smoky, these whiskies are sure to please any whiskey lover.

The typical taste profiles of Japanese whiskies include an alluring mix of honeysuckle, acetone, toffee, and orange. Different distilleries which are then blended together make up the “Japanese whisky” category.

In Japan, the malt is ground much finer than in Scotland. This results in more of the malt’s surface area being exposed to the water during mashing, resulting in a sweeter wort.

The wort is also heated to a higher temperature than in Scotland, yielding a more fermentable sugar solution. This sweeter wort leads to a final distilled product with more esters, which contributes to the fruity aromas and flavors often found in Japanese whiskies.

The washbacks used in Japan are also smaller than their Scottish counterparts. This allows for less time between mashing and fermentation, resulting in less time for spoilage organisms to grow and produce off-flavors.

The smaller washbacks also mean that there is less heat lost during fermentation, leading to a higher percentage of alcohol by volume in the final distilled spirit.

Another important difference between Japanese and Scotch whiskies is the way they are blended. In Scotland, all whiskies produced by a single distillery are typically blended together before bottling.

In Japan, however, each distillery usually bottles its own products separately before they are blended together to create the “Japanese whisky” category. This allows blenders to create whiskies with very specific flavor profiles.

Introducing the 11 best Japanese whiskies, each with a unique flavor and history.

Suntory toki 1

Suntory Toki

This blended whisky is aged for three years in Japanese oak barrels. It has a smooth and fruity flavor, with notes of oranges and honeysuckle.

If you’re looking for a top-quality Japanese whisky, look no further than Suntory Toki. The smooth, fruity flavor is perfect for sipping neat or in a whisky soda. This distillery has a long history of producing some of the best Japanese Whisky around, so you can be sure you’re getting a quality product when you choose Suntory Toki.

Yamazaki 25

Yamazaki 25

Recently, Japanese distillery Suntory unveiled a reformulated version of their Yamazaki single malt whisky. The original version of this whisky was aged entirely in sherry-seasoned oak casks. However, the new blend uses three different cask types: American oak, Spanish oak, and Japanese Mizunara oak.

Suntory has a long history of blending different types of whiskies to create unique flavor profiles. In fact, the company’s founder, Torii Shinjiro, is credited with creating the first Japanese blended whisky. Since then, Suntory has continued to experiment with different cask types and aging processes to create some of the most beloved whiskies in the world.

The new version of Yamazaki 25 is said to be more approachable than the original and features a more balanced flavor profile. According to Suntory’s chief blender, Shinji Fukuyo, the aim was to create a whisky that would be more consistent with the rest of the range.

Nikka coffey grain

Nikka Coffey Grain

Nikka Coffey Grain is a great option for anyone looking for a under $100.The whiskey is made mainly from corn, which gives it a smooth texture with a slight hint of sweetness.

Nose: Sweet and fruity with vanilla, caramel, and toffee.

Palate: The sweetness continues on the palate with honey, butterscotch, and toffee notes. There’s also a bit of oakiness that adds some structure to the whisky.

Finish: The finish is medium-length with more sweetness and some oakiness.

Overall, Nikka Coffey Grain is a delicious whisky that offers great value for the price. If you’re looking for a dessert whisky or a gift for a bourbon fan, this is definitely worth considering.

Hibiki harmony

Hibiki Harmony

When it comes to Japanese whisky, blended is best. Blending is key to making whisky that tastes smooth, balanced and complex. And that’s why Hibiki, is so special. Launched in 1989, Hibiki has become known as one of the finest Japanese whiskies available.

The 17-year-old version of Hibiki is the best of the bunch, but it’s also very expensive. So if you’re looking for a more affordable option, try Harmony instead. It’s a no-age-statement blend of malt and grain whisky from Suntory’s three distilleries aged in several different cask types. The result is a delicious whisky that’s perfect for any occasion.

Nikka days

Nikka Days

Nikka’s newest blended whisky was released in the U.S. last summer. The light, fruity whisky has notes of honey and citrus, and is smooth and refreshing with just a hint of smoke on the finish. The blend is made up of Coffey Grain Whisky, Miyagikyo malts, Coffey Malt Whisky and Yoichi malts. According to the brand, the blend was created to be an easy-drinking spirit that can be enjoyed on its own or in a highball.

The whisky is light and fruity, with a smooth texture. If you’re looking for a light and refreshing whisky to enjoy this summer, Nikka’s new blended whisky is a great option. The balanced flavor profile makes it versatile enough to drink on its own or in cocktails. I’ll definitely be picking up a bottle (or two) for my home bar.

White oak akashi single malt

White Oak Akashi Single Malt

White Oak Akashi is another Japanese whisky that has a distinct flavor profile. The single malt is made with carefully selected malts and matured in sherry casks and bourbon barrels, which give the whisky notes of fruit, spice, and oak.

I found it to be very smooth, with a nice balance of sweetness and smoke on the finish. The fruity notes and oak flavors were prominent throughout, especially on the nose. This is a whisky that I would definitely recommend if you are looking for something with a unique flavor profile. If you enjoy complex, full-bodied whiskies, then White Oak Akashi is definitely worth checking out.

Matsui pure malt – kurayoshi sherry cask

Matsui Pure Malt – Kurayoshi Sherry Cask

This Japanese single malt whisky is from Kurayoshi Distillery and has a sophisticated flavor that makes it perfect for special occasions. The sherry cask contributes to the smooth, rich taste of this whisky and the woodsy aromas make it a delightful choice for your next after-dinner drink.

On the nose, Matsui Sakura / Kurayoshi Sherry Cask is fruity and floral with hints of citrus. The palate is creamy and smooth with notes of honey, vanilla, and oak. The finish is long and warming with a touch of spice.

Matsui Sakura / Kurayoshi Distillery is produced in limited quantities, so we recommend purchasing it soon before it sells out. This whisky would make an excellent gift for the discerning drinker in your life. Cheers!

Mars shinshu iwai 45

Mars Shinshu Iwai 45

This unique Japanese single malt whisky is produced by the Mars Shinshu Distillery, one of Japan’s most renowned brands. With its distinctive fruity notes and complex flavor profile, this whisky is perfect for sipping on special occasions or after a delicious meal.

On the nose, Mars Shinshu Iwai 45 is fruity and citrusy with notes of pear, apple, and pineapple. The palate is smooth and creamy with flavors of vanilla, honey, and oak. The finish is warm and spicy with hints of clove and nutmeg.

Togouchi premium blended whisky

Togouchi Premium Blended Whisky

Togouchi Premium Blended Whisky is a unique Japanese whisky that offers an exciting and flavorful drinking experience. This whisky is made with carefully selected grain whiskies, which are aged in various types of casks for different lengths of time. The result is a smooth, complex whisky with notes of vanilla, caramel, oak, and more.

On the nose, Togouchi Premium Blended Whisky is rich and floral with a hint of spice. The palate is smooth and creamy with notes of vanilla, honey, and citrus. The finish is long and warm, leaving you wanting more.

Kujira ryukyu whisky

Kujira Ryukyu Whisky

This rare and unique Japanese whisky is produced by the Kujira Distillery on the island of Okinawa. With its rich, complex flavor profile and notes of tropical fruit, vanilla, oak, and spice, Kujira Ryukyu Whisky is a true delight to drink.

Whether you enjoy it neat or on the rocks, this outstanding whisky is a true gem of the craft distilling scene. So if you’re a fan of Japanese whisky or just looking for an incredible drink to try, be sure to pick up a bottle of Kujira Ryukyu Whisky today. You won’t regret it!​

Nikka taketsuru pure malt

Nikka Taketsuru Pure Malt

Nikka Taketsuru Pure Malt, is a blended malt whisky made with malt from two distilleries, Yoichi and Miyagikyo. The main difference between the original Taketsuru and the new one is that the latter has more influence from Yoichi, which brings more smoke to the palate because that distiller uses peated malt.

Sherry cask influence remains, but fruity notes from Miyagikyo are less pronounced, resulting in a more balanced flavor profile. This is an excellent dram for those who enjoy peated whiskies, but don’t want the harshness that can sometimes accompany them. The increased smoke is well-balanced by the fruitiness of the Miyagikyo malt, making for a complex and enjoyable whisky.

How to serve Japanese Whisky

If you’ve ever been to a Japanese bar, you know that the bartenders take their craft very seriously. This is especially true when it comes to serving whiskey. Japanese bartenders have mastered the art of serving whiskey in a unique way that is synonymous with their culture.

There are some key differences between Japanese and Scottish whiskies, including the whisky’s distillation aging and blending techniques, which create subtle flavor differences. However, the most significant difference is in the way that the whisky is served.

In Japan, bartenders take great care to ensure that each glass of whiskey is perfectly chilled and garnished. They also pay close attention to the order in which the different types of whiskey are served.

Each glass of whiskey is perfectly chilled and garnished with a twist of lemon peel. The order in which different types of whiskey are served is also important. First, lighter whiskeys are served followed by heavier whiskeys. This allows drinkers to enjoy the full range of flavors without overwhelming their palate.

One way of enjoying Japanese whisky is to drink it neat. This means that the whisky is not diluted with water or ice and is drunk at room temperature. When tasting Japanese whisky neat, it is important to use a glass that has been designed for tasting whisky. This will help to concentrate the aroma of the whisky and allow you to appreciate all the nuances of the flavor.

Another way of enjoying Japanese whisky is on the rocks. This means that the whisky is poured over ice cubes and served in a rocks glass. When drinking whisky on the rocks, it is important to use good quality ice cubes so that they do not melt too quickly and dilute the flavor of the whisky. It is also important to use a rocks glass that has been chilled beforehand so that the ice cubes do not melt too quickly.

Japanese whisky can also be mixed with other beverages to create cocktails. When mixing Japanese whisky with other drinks, it is important to choose mixers that will complement the flavors of the whisky rather than overpower them.

Some popular Japanese whisky cocktails include the Suntory highball, which mixes whiskey with soda water or ginger ale and is traditionally served in a highball glass; and the The Old Fashioned, which is made with bourbon and bitters.

No matter how you choose to enjoy it, Japanese whiskey is a unique and flavorful drink that is sure to please even the pickiest taster!