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Tasting of the Yamazaki 25 year old single malt.

Top Japanese Whisky Brands, Distilleries & Suppliers

Japanese Whisky News, Reviews & Resources Top 15 High-End Japanese Whisky Brands

Japanese whisky is produced strictly in Japan. Whisky production in Japan emerged around 1870. However, the first commercial production began in 1924 upon the opening of the country's first distillery, Yamazaki. Broadly speaking the style of Japanese whisky is more like that of Scotch whisky than any other major style of whisky.

There are several companies producing whisky in Japan, but the two best-known and most widely available are Suntory and Nikka. Both distilleries produce blended whiskies, single malt whiskies and blended malt whiskies. Their main blended whiskies are Suntory kakubin (square bottle), and Black Nikka Clear. Also, they offer a wide variety of special bottles and limited editions.

The first westerners to taste Japanese whisky were soldiers of the American Expeditionary Force Siberia who took shore leave in Hakodate in September 1918. A brand called Queen George, described by one American as a "Scotch whiskey made in Japan", was widely available. Exactly what it was is unknown, but it was quite potent and probably quite unlike Scotch whisky.

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