Five Japanese Whiskeys That Are Making Waves in the Whisky World
When it comes to whisky, Japanese whiskies are making big waves around the world. In the last decade, Japanese brands have won several big awards and won legions of new customers in the West. The new brands have challenged the stereotype that Scotch must be produced in Scotland. They are an excellent choice for those who prefer a more unique and complex spirit.
Nikka Taketsuru Pure Malt
Nikka’s blended malt Japanese whiskey is well-rounded with nutty and smooth notes. Its finish is long and smooth, and it also has notes of red fruits, sherry, and aged character. Its aromatic strength is medium.
This Japanese whiskey is a blend of malts from the Miyagikyo and Yoichi distilleries. It was created in honor of Nikka’s founder, Masataka Taketsuru. Taketsuru was the first Japanese to learn the art of whisky making in Scotland, and he brought his expertise back to his native Japan. Taketsuru was a disciplined craftsman with a thirst for knowledge. Those who know his work will appreciate the complex flavor and balance of Nikka’s Pure Malt.
This Japanese whiskey is referred to as a symphony whiskey, as it was created with the 4th movement of Brahms’ “Symphony No. 1.” The blend contains more than 30 different types of whiskey. Its smooth and lingering finish is a testament to its quality. In 2017, it was named “Supreme Champion Spirit.” You can pay as much as 40,000 yen for a 700ml bottle, which will make an outstanding gift for your loved ones.
Yamazaki 12 Year Old
Yamazaki 12 Year is one of Japan’s most highly prized whiskies. It is an 86-proof whisky that has a floral and fruity taste without any peaty notes. While it doesn’t pack the punch you’d expect from a Japanese whisky, it is still a complex drink that will please many palates.
Yamazaki 12 Year was introduced to the market in 1984. At that time, consumers in Japan were turning to blended whiskies as an alternative to single malts. But the Yamazaki 12 Year was a hit, and helped usher in a new era of Japanese whisky drinking. The distillery is located in a suburb of Yamazaki, a town located midway between Kyoto and Osaka. This small town experiences four distinct seasons, and is also famous for its perpetual mist, originating from several rivers converging.
This Japanese whisky has a rich gold color and a long, spicy finish. It has notes of coconut, cranberry, and butter. Aromas of clove, candied orange, and Mizunara (Japanese oak) are also prevalent.
Suntory Toki is a 43%-alcohol Japanese whiskey. It’s best enjoyed with plenty of ice. Its drink recipe calls for three parts of Suntory Toki and one part cold soda water. The mixture should be stirred gently. This whiskey is also popular in mixed drinks.
Toki is a blend of malt and grain whiskeys from three distilleries owned by Suntory. This blend is aged for an undisclosed period. Its process is similar to that of Scottish whiskey, but with a strong Japanese influence. It’s aged in barrels from three distilleries. The primary malt is Hakushu, while the grain components are aged in American white oak.
The Japanese company has been expanding its brand in recent years through acquisitions and homegrown brands. In 2014, it bought American distiller Beam, Inc. The company now produces dozens of spirits in countries around the world. Its flagship product, Suntory Toki, is an affordable blend of Japanese whiskeys from Hakushu and Yamazaki. The blend also features Yamazaki stock, which lends it a rich spice and complexity.
Hakushu is a single malt Japanese whiskey distilled in the heart of the Japanese Alps. The distillery was established in 1973 and sits atop Mt. Kaikomagatake, a mountain that provides a breathtaking backdrop for the production of this whiskey. This 12-year-old spirit is characterized by a delicate aroma of poached pears, a slight smokiness and notes of grass and persimmon. The resulting spirit is smooth and light and pleasantly mellow.
This distilled spirit was praised by various beverage organizations and received several awards. It was named a Gold Medal at the 2013 International Wine and Spirits Competition and earned the title of “Best in Class”. In addition, it earned 92 points from the Beverage Testing Institute.
Hibiki Japanese whiskey is a well-constructed whisky that delivers a wide range of flavours. The brand aims to be sustainable and reduce its carbon footprint. It also has an impressive résumé, having won multiple awards from Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible. As a result, it’s a widely respected brand in the whiskey world.
Suntory, the parent company of Hibiki, has been making grain and single malt whiskies for over a century. In the 1920s, its founder took inspiration from Scottish whiskey and wanted to create something more refined. Today, it is one of Japan’s best known distilleries.
Hibiki Japanese whiskey can be enjoyed straight or in a cocktail. It is especially smooth and food-friendly, making it a good choice for cocktail-making. The Hibiki Harmony is a great choice for making a highball. Ensure it’s chilled by adding lots of ice.