Why You Should Get into Japanese Whisky

Here at Craft & Barrel we love our whiskey, and that includes the unsung hero that is Japanese whisky. Japan makes some of the most innovative and silky-smooth styles of this beloved distilled beverage out there, and you really should try some yourself... 

Japanese whisky was brought into prominence in the US roughly around 2013 after critic Jim Murray shocked the whisky-drinking population by proclaiming single malt from Yamazaki distillery as the best in the world. Although, they’ve been making whisky in Japan since 1923, with Yamazaki leading the way, and most Japan distillers even travelled to Scotland long before then to learn the proper techniques.

The high praise from Murray indeed skyrocketed the demand for Japanese whisky, however, it could certainly promote itself with its outstanding taste and distinctly silky texture alone. Japanese whiskies truly are some of the best in the world and are worth seeking out. They offer something a little different from your average Scotch or bourbon, as Japan has far fewer set rules, thus the distillers can be as creative and adventures as they choose. But keep in mind, the Japanese are serious drinkers and serious drink makers, so they do not mess around!

Variety also is not an issue. Whatever your preferred style, there’s surely a Japanese whisky to match it. Anything from brooding, intensely peated numbers that rival Islay’s smokiest Scotches to light-as-a-feather styles that showcase fruity, floral, or even confectionary vanilla-and-spice notes. They have it all.

What are some of our favorite Japanese whiskies? Well we’re happy you asked. Below are a few of our favs —some of which we will be pouring at our upcoming Japanese Whisky Tasting in January 2019:

  • Mars Shinshu Distillery, Iwai Japanese Whisky

  • Mars Shinishu Distillery, Iwai Tradition Japanese Whisky

  • Akashi, Blended Whisky

  • Akashi, Single Malt Whisky

  • Akashi, Sherry Cask Aged 5 Years Single Malt Whisky

  • Chichibu Distillery, Ichiro's Malt & Grain Whisky

  • Nikka, Coffey Grain Whisky

  • Nikka, Taketsuru Pure Malt Whiskey

  • Nikka, Miyagikyo Single Malt

Evie Olson