Dive deeper into the rich world of Nippon Whiskies
Two guys named Masataka Taketsuru and Shinjiro Torri took everything they knew about Scotch and established Nikka and Suntory. Seventy years later, these two behemoths are the mainstream of Japanese Whisky. But there’s also a rich world of lesser known amber Spirits in Nippon. If those two are The Beatles, these bad boys are The Sex Pistols. Let’s celebrate the new kids on the block!
The Japanese booze landscape is teeming with extravagantly different, under-the-radar, rare and straight up bonkers Spirits: a Sake-like Whisky from ex-Brandy casks made from rice that had koi carp police its weeds; a Scotland-born Spirit from ex-Sherry barrels whose water was filtered through a goddamn volcano; or a ridiculously rare no-age-statement gem from a mythical place. It sounds like we’re making this up, but these are real Spirits and they jubilate the Japanese ingenuity and imagination.
Also, they demand your attention. See, the Japanese took a great tune from Scotland, covered it for a while, then invented a whole new genre with crazy melodies, twists and remixes – and, just like that, they created a new hit! They used to be apprentices, the Japanese, but now they’re kicking ass – even with their lesser known expressions. Put on your leather jacket and hang out with the cool kids.
1) Shorthand for Japanese craft Whisky is “Ji-Whisky”, which appropriately sounds like “gee wizz”, as most of the Whiskies coming from the Land of the Rising Sun are pure poetry.
2) World War II was great for Japanese Whisky, since the armed forces guzzled every drop available. It's still considered the most profitable era.
3) Japanese Whisky has so much in common with Scotch (it was modeled on it, after all), it kept the Scottish spelling without an "e", rather than following the American or Irish tradition.
4) One of the not-so-secret reasons for the unique flavor of the Japanese Whisky is the Mizunara Oak, an ancient tree that's also used for fancy furniture.
5) Japanese laws are quite loose when it comes to Whiskies, and they permit blends of imported and domestic Whisky to be sold as "Japanese Whisky". On the other hand, aged rice and barley Shochu can be legally exported as "Whisky" to the US market - but since the process uses koji fungi to convert starches into sugars, it's illegal to call it Whisky in Japan and EU.
6) In Japan, you can buy travel-sized Whisky bottles from vending machines like a bag of Skittles!
The most popular Whisky drink in Japan is the Highball, a mix of Japanese Whisky and club soda. (Also Winston Churchill's favorite drink, except he drank Red Label.)
7) 20% of calories consumed by humanity come from rice, which is the main ingredient of two of the Spirits in this Tasting Box.
8) Japan is the second biggest producer of single malt Whisky and Japanese Whisky even got better ratings than Scotch in blind tastings.
9) The Japanese drink more Whisky than the Scots and they produce more than the United States.
The Flavor Spiral™ is a quick, clear and visually-appealing way to look at the drink's flavor DNA.
It's tasting notes reinvented. The Flavor Spiral™ is a unique and revolutionary way of describing flavors. It was developed by Flaviar tasting panel, industry experts, and You, our dear Flaviar community member.
Your favourite drinks like never before. It could easily be an art form, but that's a conversation for another day.
Japanese Single Malts, like Scotch, are double-distilled in pot stills. Grain Whiskies, on the other hand, are distilled in column stills.
Member Reviews and Ratings of The Secret Flavors Of Japan
We loved “A”!!! New addition to our home bar.
A was, by far, my favorite. The sherry comes through quite clearly, but not overpowering. C I found to be the least palatable. I found it to be quite ashy, although the profile provided did not mention that note. B was just average
Overall these were not really to my taste. Of the three, I'd have to say that 'C' was the one I found to be closest to my liking. The other 2 would not find a place on my shelf.
Good, very light in taste, not your traditional whisky.
C is brilliant with brilliant vanilla flavor! Just buy it guys!
Good mix of flavors with some sweet surprises,
I would give this 7.5, not quite an 8, really enjoyed the Fukano-the sherry was not overpowering and was well balanced with the cinnamon, plum and underlying tea notes-nice lingering finish, also the Kurayoshi was very unique as well with strong almond and vanilla notes and a zest....was not a big fan of the Ohishi but it was still interesting, i could see keeping a bottle of the first two
First experience with Japanese whiskey. Enjoyable tastes, different textures.
If your new to Japanese whiskey its going to be harsh on the pallet. But with any liquor especially Japanese whiskey embrace the flavors and enjoy the ride each and every bottle tells a different story.
Great Japanese intro!
A very good assortment of Japanese Whiskies!
Really liked the sherry flavor of the Ohishi and the Fukano.
I found the Ohishi and Fukano to be delightful and just right for my palate. The Kurayoshi was okay, but I did not enjoy it as much.
If its out of stock, the listing should reflect that.
Why would you rate a whiskey tasting box that you did not try?? It throws off the ratings.
Not a fan of Japanese whisky.
Hearty flavors, smooth taste, very enjoyable.
Absolutely delicious. Loved each one more than the previous.
Great variety of quality tasters
Different enough drams to make the tasting experience fun, but all quite good.
Well balanced and exciting collection. By far my favorite!
I really enjoyed this tasting. It was a good variety of flavors and very smooth ending.
Different then my expectation but worth trying out
I wasn't a big fan of these whiskies. I am new to scotch and was expecting a similar experience, but it was quite different. I felt they were strong without a lot of flavor. The Fukano reserve was the only one I would consider drinking again.
Terrible after taste
Pretty solid overall, 2 out of the 3 were very good. Vile B was outstanding
Ohishi was by far the best one in here. The other two were ok. I will definitely buy some of the ohishi if it’s available. Nice and smooth and went down way to easy.
First time trying Japanese whiskey. I'd spend the money on 2/3 quickly. Delicious, rich, and fun. 1 vial I didn't even want to finish.
A great taster! Especially if you live somewhere that Japanese pure-malts and blends aren't readily available. Highly recommended.
2 of the 3 were superb !
Selection B was fantastic 9/10! Other 2 were complex and interesting but had some weaknesses.
First time trying Japanese whisky.. I have to say I’m impressed,will be buying again
Vials A and B were some of the best whiskeys I have tried, though I’m newer to whiskey. Vial C was not for me but was still good.
Great intro for myself into a well curated variety of Japanese whiskey. The sherry cask one was especially tasty, if you like that type of aging.
Two out of three ain’t bad. The Ohishi and Fukano are whiskies I would buy. The Kurayoshi is the reason I’m happy for these samplers.
Great flavor, different than the US bourbon/rye I’m used to
Delicious and fun.
We discovered we are not fans of Japanese Whiskey. Lol.
Ohishi 7/10, Fukano 5/10, The Kurayoshi 1/10
This was a fun introduction to Japanese Whisky. It was my first time trying any Japanese Whisky. I really enjoyed Ohishi and Fukano. They were both smooth and had unique flavors compared to an American Whisky. The sherry finish was very nice on both and left a nice flavor. I thought Kurayoshi was awful and had to down it like a shot. Would prefer rail gin over that whisky.... overall fun box and good value looking at the bottle prices
Pretty harsh blends. Not for the amateur pallet, that’s for sure.
While I did like the Kurayoshi, I felt as though the rest were far too sweet for my taste. I owe this to the sherry flavor.
One tasted too young, another too sweet. Ohishi was okay, but lost points for price.
Very good mixtures!
One of them was very spicy with a strong aftertaste, one was acceptable, and one was actually nice.
Ohishi and Fukano took 1st and second for me. Definitely going to pick up a bottle of Ohishi for my cabinet!
I’ve had a number of Japanese whiskies and this is a good selection.
Great selection in this sampler.
They were decent. Strong after taste
Good introduction for me as I’m new to Japanese whisky. They all had unique qualities, different than anything I’ve tried before. Shochu has been my go to for highballs but I’m seeing a place for Japanese whisky in my future.
I really enjoyed this box. Having lived in Japan for a few years, I became a fan of Suntory whiskey highballs. I couldn’t resist giving this box a try. Fukano was the standout in my opinion. I’m looking forward to the next box!
Fukano was my favorite would consider getting a bottle. The sherry was a close second.
I apparently do not like sherry aged whisky - glad I tried them though! And that Kurayoshi is quite good - I'd rank that a 7 out of 10 on its own. The Ohishi was terrible - almost undrinkable 1 out of 10. The Fukano was good, but I just don't like the sherry flavor addition - 4-5 out of 10 for my tastes.
Three excellent samples. One of my favorite sample boxes so far. I really enjoyed each one of them.
The sherry......oh the sherry. Loved it
Box seal was broken and my stone coaster was broken as well.
ohishi ....the best of the three. The other two not so much. But it was worth exploring
This was a delightful journey to Japan. Who said you couldn’t travel during quarantine.
Decent box! Fukano was amazing! Other 2 we're decent, but I wouldn't order a full bottle. That Fukano though..... I want more!
Very nice. I think I would only buy one of the bottles that tasted like whiskey and sake. Good spirits from the land of the sun.
Really enjoyed the Ohishi, was very smooth and subtle with a smokey taste to ti. The rest weren't too good. Really disliked the Kurayoshi.
This was not good. Tasted like gasoline smelled. Feel like I wasted my free box.