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To join this party, you’ll need to get on over to the Land of the Rising Sun.
Yep, Japan is doing the Whisky thing and they’re doing it big. (Or should we say, "yuge.")
See, the Japanese can’t seem to get enough of the stuff — right along with the rest of us. They’ve discovered the secret to making some spectacular sauce and the world’s like "hold my Beer… and pass me that Whisky."
Time to get this party started.
The Japanese Whisky train is out of the station and there’s no stopping it.
The world’s fallen in love with the meticulous way the Japanese are distilling their grains, and with good reason — they’ve taken the Scottish playbook on crafting great Whisky and managed to perfect it.
We know, we know. Blasphemous. But hear us out.
The Japanese have taken Whisky distilling to another level. For one, they produce a clear wort — that’s the liquid drawn off of the mash — which means fewer lipids and therefore less of a nutty taste. They also finish their Whiskies in Japanese Oak casks, which give it a more delicate, floral flavor. All of this (along with a few other tricks they have up their sleeve) results in a dram that’s more balanced, softer, aromatic and fragrant than a typical Scotch.
But the methods by which they distill it are essentially the same as the Scots. So they’re paying their respects to the greats while making it their own. Can’t hate on that.
Now, onto the box. Inside, we’ve packed three stellar samples of Japanese Whiskies that artfully pay homage to Scotch rules and legacy. The warm Kurayoshi 12 Year Old Pure Malt Whisky with toffee and vanilla notes, the slightly sweet and well-rounded Kujira Ryukyu Whisky, and the delicate Ichiro's Malt & Grain. Trust us, they won’t disappoint.
While we can’t predict what the future holds for Japanese Whisky, we’d put our money on a bright one.
1) It was the humble Highball that single-handedly revived Japanese Whisky in Japan. Aside from some attention overseas, Japanese Whisky on the domestic front was very low in the early 2000s. It wasn’t until 2008, when Suntory launched the Highball campaign featuring their Kakubin Whisky with popular Japanese actresses that things really kicked into high gear.
2) While WWII was a horrible time for the world as a whole, Japanese Whisky sales boomed during that time. Sales reports from Suntory and Nikka show a huge boost in domestic consumption during the war, as both companies supplied Whisky directly to the army and Japanese forces.
3) In "Lost in Translation," Bill Murray’s poison of choice was the Suntory Hibiki 17 Year Old — and if everyone knows one thing it’s this: in Bill Murray we trust.
4) The founders of Suntory and Nikka were tight: in fact, Suntory’s founder, Shinjiro Torii, hired Masataka Taketsuru to run the Yamazaki distillery. Taketsuru stayed there for 10 years before moving on and creating Nikka in 1934.
5) Numbers don’t lie: The Japanese drink way more Whisky than the Scots and they produce more than the United States.
6) Mizuwari means "mixed with water" and is a popular way of drinking Spirits in Japan. Typically, about two parts of cold water are mixed with one part of the Spirit and some ice.
7) Caveat emptor: Japanese Whisky has no strict rules surrounding its production, which has resulted in companies importing Whisky from Scotland and maturing it briefly in Japan before slapping a label on it that claims it’s Japanese Whisky. Consulting with Inspector Google before you make a purchase can pay off in spades (but rest assured, all of Japanese Whisky we sell here at Flaviar is legit!).