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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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    Japanese Whisky News, Reviews & Resources
  • Chichibu distillery - since 2008. "Making good whisky influenced by local environment and creating the possibility of Japanese whisky."
  • FUJI-GOTEMBA 18 YEAR OLD SINGLE MALT "Unknown outside Japan, Fuji Sanroku which means 'at the foot of Mount Fuji', is a great 18 year old single malt producted in Fuji Gotemba distillery owned by Kirin Group. Very surprising for the richness and depth of its fruity and woody aromas, Fuji Sanroku 18 year old is a whisky to be savored rather as a digestive."
  • HAKUSHU single malt - since 1973. "A perennial favourite and a must-try for anyone interested in discovering Japanese whisky."
  • HANYU SINGLE MALT WHISKY - "Discover the top Japanese Whisky from Hanyu Distillery in Japan. Shop single malt, blended and grain whisky of varying ages."
  • HIBIKI BLENDED - "The Paragon of Japanese Whisky." 'Kanzen' or complete, Suntory Whisky Hibiki is a harmonious blend of innumerous malt and grain whiskies which are meticulously blended to create a full orchestra of flavors and aromas.
  • Karuizawa single malt whiskies.
  • KARUIZAWA SINGLE MALT - "The most cult of Japanese whiskies, closed since 2001. Famed for its intense, sherry cask matured drams, its popularity has been rapidly growing in recent years."
  • Mars Shinshu - "Japan's Highest Distillery at 798 meters."
  • MIYAGIKYO SINGLE MALT - "Replacing the previous NAS Miyagikyo single malt as well as the remaining age statement expressions, this single release will represent the distillery going forward as demand for Japanese whisky remains as strong as ever."
  • NIKKA WHISKY - "official web site. A Japanese producer of whisky and spirits. Features product information, history, and distilleries."
  • Nikka Whisky From The Barrel - "The award-winning Nikka Whisky From The Barrel blend is absolutely full of flavour. A huge depth of flavour in this stunning Japanese whisky. We can't recommend this enough."
  • Ohishi Sherry Single Cask Whisky - "From the Kumamoto Prefecture on the island of Kyushu in Japan, the Ohishi Sherry Cask is a whisky distilled from rice and aged in first and second fill sherry casks."
  • Suntory Rolling Stones 50th Anniversary Whisky.
  • SUNTORY - since 1923. Makes both best-selling and award-winning Japanese whisky.
  • Nikka Taketsuru 21 year old.
  • Taketsuru whisky - "February 2010 marked an extraordinary achievement for Nikka, as their Taketsuru 21-year old scooped the title of 'World's Best Blended Malt Whisky' at the World Whiskies Awards for the third time in four years. Bravo, Nikka!"
  • Tsunagu Mars Whisky - blended whisky is the first Mars Whisky limited edition specially bottled for the japanese department store Isetan.
  • White Oak Akashi blended - "Soft and round, this is a great blend to begin with japanese whisky."
  • White Oak Tokinoka blended - "Its delicate fruity aromas make the Tokinoka an ideal whisky to begin with japanese whiskies."
  • 12-year-old Single Malt Yamazaki whisky.
  • YAMAZAKI WHISKY Distillery - since 1923. "Where Japanese whisky was born." Owned by Suntory. It was opened in 1923 and was Japan's first commercial whisky distillery. Seven thousand bottles of unblended malt whisky are on display in the Yamazaki Whisky Museum.
  • Yamazaki Single Malt 50-Year-Old Whisky.
  • YAMAZAKI Single Malt 50-Year-Old Whisky - single malt. The highest priced single malt whisky in Japan.
  • YOICHI SINGLE MALT - since 1934. "Relaunched in 2016, this comes from Nikka's excellent Yoichi distillery. This is a blend of single malts from different years and consequently does not carry an age statement. This is a smoky whisky with a maritime character."
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