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Goin’ Japanesque!

3 Best Whiskeys of Japan for Whiskey Lovers!

Talking of Whiskey, Scotch Whiskey, Bourbon Whiskey, Irish Whiskey and Canadian Whiskey are good examples of the worldly famous variations. But you can also find many good Japanese whiskey brands each with its own feature, which makes the trademark of each distillery. Here we are taking this opportunity to introduce to you three best whiskey brands from Japan and we strongly recommend whiskey lovers among you to give them a try at least once!


1. Yamazaki 25 Years Old


The whiskey Yamazaki is produced at Yamazaki Distillery, the first whiskey distillery established in Japan, and is the top premium brand in the whole lineup of Yamazaki Whiskey. It was first released to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the foundation of Suntory, one of Japan’s leading brewing and distilling companies. With only 1,200 bottles produced a year, it is quite a rare product and always ranked high as a top quality brand of whiskey.

Poured into a glass, it has a slightly reddish and strong-amber hue and you can enjoy the sweet aromatic fragrance rising up out of the glass. The sherry barrels used for the maturation process are the key to the specific aroma of this whiskey.

When you hold the whiskey in your mouth, the sweet raisin-like flavor will quickly spread over your palate, followed by the slightly bitter chocolate-like flavor. If you explore a little deeper, you will also notice the fragrance like that of nuts or toasted bread.

It is matured sweet and pleasantly bitter in taste and has a deep finish with a lingering aftertaste.

If you are a whiskey fan, make sure to try this Japan’s representative whiskey straight.


2. Taketsuru Pure Malt

Taste: ★★★★★☆☆
Aroma: ★★★★☆☆☆

Taketsuru is the malt whiskey produced by Nikka Whiskey. It has a distinctive malt taste with a mild texture that’s easy to drink. Taketsuru Pure Malt is produced by vatting (blending in a vat) malt whiskey from many distilleries for the complex and deep taste and flavor.

Poured into a glass, it looks slightly dark gold in hue and you can enjoy the fruity and tangy aroma rising up out of the glass.

When you take a sip, the sweet vanilla-cream-like flavor spreads first, then followed by the mild flavor of malt. Then yet another sweet and refreshing flavor like that of green apple and pear gradually manifests itself from the depth. While the texture is very mellow on the palate, the sharply dry taste is nicely combined with lightly sweet and sour flavor like orange peels.

The whiskey is available relatively cheaply despite the top quality taste and approachable for a wide range of people.

The name of the product, Taketsuru, is taken from Masataka Taketsuru, the founder of Nikka Whiskey. He went to Scotland alone in his youth and learned and mastered the skills of Scotch whiskey making. Taketsuru Pure Malt, produced by bringing the best out of the skills he brought back from Scotland, boasts very distinctive features of Scotch whiskey.


3. Hibiki 21 Years Old

Taste: ★★★★★★☆
Aroma: ★★★★★☆☆

Hibiki is produced by Suntory and rates top among other domestically-produced blend whiskey brands. This masterpiece whiskey is created by blending 21 years old malt whiskey and grain whiskey in a miraculous balance.

Poured in a glass, it is vivid amber in hue and the aromatic fragrance of sherry will tickle your nostrils.

Once held in your mouth, the brilliant woody flavor will spread in your palate, followed by the sweet flavor like that of dried fruits. As you let it swirl around in your mouth, you will find the deep flavors like that of ripe pear, oak and sherry. While it is light and soft in texture, the taste is raisin, caramel or almond-ish sweet. There is also a sensation of pleasantly spicy finish with cinnamon flavor. The overall taste is very clear without any odd tastes.

Hibiki 21 Years Old tastes wonderfully either straight, on the rocks or watered down and is definitely recommendable for all whiskey lovers.


Besides the three brands mentioned above, you can also find various other whiskey brands produced by local distilleries around Japan, each with its own distinctive features unique to the area of production. When you visit Japan, it would be a great idea to visit distilleries near your destinations and compare the taste of various Japanese whiskey products.

Related Articles:
Dreams of Drams: The Story of Japanese Whisky

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