While Japanese whisky has been around since the 1850s, Masataka Taketsuru is the person who made Japanese whisky into what it is today. During Taketsuru's trip to Scotland in 1918, where he was studying organic chemistry, he ended up falling in love with the production of Scotch whisky. Inspired, Taketsuru returned to Japan and founded the first two Japanese whisky distilleries, Yamazaki and Yoichi. Since then, Japanese whisky has evolved into a major commodity, sought after by collectors and aficionados.
There are no strict rules when it comes to producing Japanese whisky, and with innovations staying within distilleries instead of being shared amongst each other, Japanese whisky styles can differ. In general, Japanese whisky is made from mashed malted barley, that is often peated and imported from Scotland, and then distilled twice in pot stills. Other column distilled grain whiskies may be blended together to create a single malt whisky. Japanese whisky is typically aged in wooden barrels, the most common being American oak, Sherry casks, and Mizunara oak, each providing their own unique characteristics, which can lead to varying notes of vanilla, spice, malt, nuts, fruit, smoke, herbs, citrus, and honey.
Put your knowledge to the test! Whether you’re just starting out or an expert on all things Japanese whisky, check out our delectable line up: