Jump to content Jump to search
featured image

Whisky in Japan

Thu, Jul 13, 23  |  whiskey world whiskey

Japanese Whisky

Despite its short production history compared to Scotland and Ireland, Japanese whisky has gained worldwide recognition for quality and craftsmanship managing to create a distinct style that has received numerous awards and accolades.

The origins of Japanese whisky can be traced back to the early 20th century when Masataka Taketsuru traveled to Scotland to study whisky production. After learning the techniques and traditions of Scotch whisky, Taketsuru brought his knowledge back to Japan and in 1923, he established Japan’s first whisky distillery, Yamazaki, which is still in operation today.

Often noted for smoothness, attention to detail, and balance of flavors, Japanese whisky is heavily influenced by the production methods of Scotch whisky, including the use of malted barley, copper pot stills, and oak casks for aging. However, Japanese distilleries have expanded and incorporated their own unique innovations in whisky production, resulting in whisky that has its own distinctive character.

One of the notable aspects of Japanese whisky is the attention that is given to the maturation process. The climate in Japan has varying temperatures and high humidity which accelerates the aging process, leading to faster maturation compared to other whisky-producing countries. The unique climate of Japan can contribute to the development of complex and nuanced flavors within the whisky.

There are typically two main categories that Japanese whisky fall into: single malt and blended whisky. Single malt whiskey is produced entirely from malted barley at a single distillery, just like Single Malt Scotch. Single malt Japanese whisky is known for its rich flavors and often exhibits fruity notes, floral aromas, and a hint of spice. Blended whisky combines malt whisky with grain whisky and is typically more accessible and affordable than single malt.

Some of the well-known Japanese whisky brands include Yamazaki, Hakushu, and Yoichi, which are all owned by the major Japanese beverage company Suntory. Nikka whisky, which was also found by Masataka Taketsuru, is another renowned Japanese distillery that offers a wide range of whisky styles.

Japanese whisky has experienced a surge in global popularity within recent years, which has led to increased demand and limited availability of certain expressions. Collectors and enthusiasts will often seek out limited edition releases and older expressions from Japanese distilleries. Japanese whisky continues to evolve and capture the attention of whisky enthusiasts worldwide with its commitment to craftsmanship, attention to detail, and unique flavor profiles not found anywhere else. 

By benhemstock117@gmail.com

Tags: whiskey world whiskey japanese whiskey