Upon his return, Taketsuru worked briefly for Settsu Shuzo, but plans to build a distillery fell through so he worked for a while as a high school chemistry teacher. This excellent whisky is aged in a variety of casks, including Mizunara oak from Japan, and there are notes of tropical fruit and dry spice on the palate. Nikka Coffey Malt. He also fell in love with and married a Scottish woman, Jessie Roberta “Rita” Cowan—over the objections of both their families. The finish is smooth and includes a nice cinnamon bite at the end. It is aged in ex-bourbon casks, and has notes of caramel and vanilla, along with a nice, oily mouthfeel. Some brands are bottling whisky that is distilled from rice and not grain, a source of contention for those who believe this essentially makes it aged shochu. Dr. Whisky says it's 'Unbelievably balanced, and…  More info, A tasty blended Japanese whisky here, Tanjaku is made with corn and barley, and aged in American white oak bourbon barrels. This blended Japanese whisky comes from the Mars Shinsu distillery, which is located 2,600 feet above sea level. The Hibiki brand was introduced in 1989, while this whisky went to market in 2015. The spirit is then aged for an undisclosed length of time in sherry casks, making this a rich and fruity dram that stands up with the best of Japanese whisky. The brand’s tasting notes mention a bit of brine on the palate based on the warehouses’ seaside location, but our tasters didn’t pick that up. The Japanese Revolution, or Boshin War, had culminated in the restoration of political authority with the Emperor, and a decided effort on the part of the Japanese state to modernize so as to become independent from Western imperial designs, which had dogged Japan since the 1850s. Though not overwhelming, it is a very nice touch to round out this delicate whisky. The palate includes vanilla, oak, almonds, and cherries, with hints of citrus.

Toki, one of the easiest Japanese whiskies to get ahold of these days, is a blend of malt and grain whisky from Suntory’s Yamazaki, Hakushu, and Chita distilleries. Then add soda water. So how did Scotland’s favorite spirit make its way to Japan? Japanese whisky was generally available in Asia and Europe until the late 1980s. Seriously though, if you are asking how do the Japanese like to drink their whisky, the answer is: in a highball. With the Kurayoshi 12 Year Old Malt Whisky, we come to the first spirit on our list not produced by Suntory or Nikka. After that, place an additional ice cube in the glass. The finish of this amazing spirit is smooth and balanced with just a hint of smoke at the end of a long ending. Saveur may receive financial compensation for products purchased through this site.

Offer valid on any online order over $150 (excludes taxes and discounts). Production Process: What kinds of barrels are used? The price makes it very alluring, especially if you’re looking to try your first Japanese whisky. This is bright and citrusy, if perhaps a bit thin, which means it’s the perfect Japanese whisky to use in a highball. Well, you drink it. But the point here is to follow the progress of this distillery as its whisky ages, an interesting journey for any whisky drinker. This is another sourced blend with various components coming from outside of Japan. After gathering this information, we gave each whisky a rating from one to five stars, with five being the highest, to help readers quickly find the best ones. Obviously, we don’t want to over-caricature an entire culture, so what I am about to say needs to be couched with the reality that there are many delightful exceptions to the rule, but the vast majority of whisky consumed in Japan is in the form of the highball, or what is also called the “Scotch and soda.”. This is a quintessential Japanese whisky that anyone interested in the category should try at least once. The latest infographic makes it easy to tell if the "Japanese" whisky you're drinking is actually Japanese or not! Every product was carefully curated by an Esquire editor. The finish is not overpowering and doesn’t linger very long, but as it fades out you get a light bit of smokiness. Going straight to the source is always a good idea—and in the case of Japanese whisky, it’s no different. So, the legitimate question to ask is: Should we just hold off buying our favorite spirit until we visit Japan? Basically, there isn’t enough whisky on the market to meet the surging demand.

To that end, it’s helpful to get an overview of the Japanese whisky landscape. And with the current shortage of available Japanese whisky, and the sky-high prices that go with it, how do you choose which one is the best for you? Iwai Tradition is a blend that is not too hard to find and will usually cost you around $60. This is an elegant whisky that does an excellent job of finding the right balance between the different whiskies that are used. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. Shop Hibiki Japanese Harmony reservebar.com. This is a bit of a hot-button topic at the moment -- see my recent interview with Dave Broom to find out why. The bottling for the home market in Japan is made with malt whisky and molasses spirit, which would not be classed as 'whisky'…  More info, A Japanese blended whisky from the White Oak distillery, which is in Hyogo, just west of Kobe. Finish: How much heat is there, and how smoothly does it go down? We may earn a commission from these links. The Hands-Down Best Bourbon Brands in 2020, The Hands-Down Best Tequila Brands in 2019. They source whisky from Scotland and Canada, and then age it in a railway tunnel before…  More info, A delicate Japanese blended whisky, Enso translates from Japanese to 'circle' or 'cycle'. No Big Spenders Here: Great Japanese Whisky For $80 or Less.

** California and Arizona customers: This product is eligible for our 5¢ sale (buy any two eligible products and get the second for just 5¢). The name of this Nikka spirit may confuse someone expecting a jolt of caffeine — the “Coffey” in question refers to Aeneas Coffey, who invented a more efficient column still in the early 19th century. Our second whisky is the Nikka Coffey Grain Whisky, named after the continuous still that’s used in making this grain-based whisky.

It’s no 17, but let’s enjoy the whisky we can actually afford. It is meant to be an easy-drinking whisky—as the name implies—that you can enjoy on its own, in a highball, or hell, even with some Coke, if that’s your thing. Arguably the finest expression of this Suntory brand, the 18-year-old Hakushu combines the subtle smoke, crispness, and fruity notes of its 12-year-old and transforms them into a more rounded, mature whisky. And, if all else fails, see if you can talk a friend into going in with you to split a bottle! Determining the best Japanese whisky for yourself is a very personal choice. The Japanese characters you can spot on the label translate to "hibari",…  More info, From the Japanese distillers Nikka comes their blended whisky, the Nikka Blended Whisky. Of course, at $40 it’s not exactly cheap, but compared to other Japanese whiskies, it’s a real bargain. The answer to the latter question is, usually, yes; it is more often than not delicious whisky that is quite different from single malt scotch, its closest spiritual relative. A Japanese blended whisky from the White Oak distillery, which is in Hyogo, just west of Kobe. There’s also a limited edition version of this whisky available, which includes older whisky: Chichibu aged for at least ten years, and sourced whisky between 10 and 30 years old that is aged in Japan for another three-to-five years before blending. This whisky was already very difficult to find outside of Japan, which explains the current price point of $1,500. One of the instruments in this process was the so-called “Tory’s Bars,” which were opened in the 1950s in Japan. Offer valid on any online order over $150 (excludes taxes and discounts). This doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad, but it’s nice to know what is really in the bottle. At $100 a bottle, it isn’t cheap—but compared to other Japanese whiskies, and given its quality, it is a real steal.

A blended whisky from Suntory's three distilleries: Yamazaki, Hakushu and Chita. More info, A blended whisky from the Kaikyo Distillery, the Hatozaki blend sees the marriage of both malt and grain whiskies, including whisky distilled in Japan and imported stocks. The palate includes dark fruits and citrus, and it has a creamy mouth feel. This grain whiskey will appeal to bourbon lovers, with buttery notes of caramel and vanilla that pop with each sip. Malt and Grain is another blend of whiskey and whisky from other countries—or as the distillery calls it, an “all-world blend.” Chichibu-distilled whisky is combined with scotch, Irish whiskey, Canadian rye, and American whiskey. Japanese Whisky. In 2018, stories of bottles being on the shelf for a mere 10 minutes became commonplace. Though the Japanese have been making whisky for well over 100 years, only recently has it become a major player on the international market. Please drink responsibly. In this case, the price fits the product rather well, making it as attainable as it is desirable. This blend of malt and grain whisky from Suntory’s three distilleries is sweet and rich with notes of caramel and vanilla that coat the palate, and has a long, smooth finish. Mention this bottle to a casual drinker and they might think you are talking about some kind of coffee-flavored whisky for brunch drinking. Valid for shipping anywhere within Arizona only. One good rule of thumb is not to buy your whisky from duty-free shops. Price: Well, they are all expensive—but some more so than others! Flavor: What is the flavor profile of this whisky? Ready to take on this complex, evolving category? Kisoyama Japanese Blended Whisky (750 ML) Unusually soft mountain water and a range of malts & barrels gives this blended whisky delicate notes of vanilla, cinnamon spice and a perfect woodiness for both new and experienced whisky drinkers!. Mars Shinshu’s claim to fame is that it is Japan’s highest-altitude distillery, located at just over 2,600 feet.

The finish is long and smooth with some spice at the tail, which some may not enjoy. The slightly peated whisky delicately balances…  More info, A fantastic 12 year old blended Japanese whisky from Nikka presented in a bottle that takes its design from the neckline of a kimono. If you are using a screen reader and are having problems using this website, please call 877.77.BEVMO (877.772.3866) for assistance.