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Japanese Whisky

Japan
Although an unknown quantity to many, Japanese Whisky has been awarded many an accolade by Whisky reviewers and connoisseurs around the world. It seems that the Japanese have quietly perfected their own version of this distilled spirit and, as whiskey enthusiasts, it’s essential that we find out what all the fuss is about!

History of Japanese Whisky

Japanese whisky has been around for quite a while. Production of whisky in Japan began around 1870, with serious production commencing with the opening of Japan's first commercial distillery in 1923.

The commercial Japanese whisky industry can be largely attributed to its two founding fathers: Shinjiro Torii and Masataka Taketsuru. Shinjiro established the Suntory brand, founding his (and the country’s) first distillery in 1923. Named Yamazaki, located in the Vale of Yamazaki, Taketsuru followed this first distillery swiftly, with the launch of Yoichi on Hokkaido 11 years later. Scotch and Japanese Whisky may share similarities in their production methods, but it's relatively easy to tell one from the other.

Taketsuru was famously visited Scotland in 1918 to enroll himself in a ‘crash course’ of whisky-making. He studied in Glasgow and followed with practical experience in both Speyside and Campbeltown before returning to Japan with a passion, experience and a Scottish wife.

Taketsuru joined forces with Torii in 1921. His vision was to build a distillery on the remote northern island of Hokkaido, as he considered this part of the country to most mirror Scotland in climate and resources. However, Torii feared this was too far from the main markets of central Honshu. He opposed the idea and instead Yamazaki was eventually built on the outskirts of Kyoto in 1923.

Taketsuru worked as Yamazaki’s first distillery manager for over 10 years before leaving to strike out alone and finally realise his dream of building of the Yoichi distillery on Hokkaido.

Almost 100 years later, the companies founded by the two men – Suntory and Nikka– still dominate the Japanese whisky industry, with a surprising meagre four distilleries between them.

Over the century of production, the Japanese distillers developed a very different model of distillation. The Japanese distilleries produce an array of styles due to their selection of different still shapes and sizes. They also use a range of peated and unpeated barley, different yeast strains, fermentations, cut points and a variety of cask options. Suntory’s Hakushu distillery once produced around 30m litres of spirit a year, making it the largest plant of its kind in the world at the time

Characteristics of Japanese Whisky

Japanese whiskies are crafted, essentially, in the Scottish style. (Hence their nod Scotland in their choice of spelling). Reasonably delicate and perfumed with honeyed sweetness., they’re considered to fall between Lowland and Speyside whiskies in their style. Often with light sherry and floral notes, they are also sometimes peated for a smoky, almost-Islay style.

Where to Start with Japanese Whisky

If Japanese whisky intrigues you as much as it does us, why not start with a few of our favourites here at Frootbat. Trust us, you won’t regret delving into these light, fragrant expressions. Enjoy!
FROOTBAT HAS 35 PRODUCTS FROM THE Japanese Whisky REGION AVAILABLE TO SHIP TO Australia
FROOTBAT HAS 35 PRODUCTS FROM THE Japanese Whisky REGION AVAILABLE TO SHIP TO Australia
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Brand
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Region
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Vintage
The Hakushu 12 Year Old Single Malt Whisky
Suntory The Hakushu 12 Year Old Single Malt Whisky 700ml Bottle
$299.0012 buying options
Hibiki Japanese Harmony Blended Whisky
Suntory Hibiki Japanese Harmony Blended Whisky 700ml Bottle
$115.906 buying options
The Yamazaki 12 Year Old Single Malt Whisky
Suntory The Yamazaki 12 Year Old Single Malt Whisky 700ml Bottle
$239.9812 buying options
Hibiki 17 Year Old Blended Whisky
Suntory Hibiki 17 Year Old Blended Whisky 700ml Bottle
$799.009 buying options
Hibiki 30 Year Old Blended Whisky
Suntory Hibiki 30 Year Old Blended Whisky 700ml Bottle
$8,299.002 buying options
Hibiki Deep Harmony Blended Whisky
Suntory Hibiki Deep Harmony Blended Whisky 700ml Bottle
$4,999.001 buying option
From The Barrel Japanese Whisky
Nikka From The Barrel Japanese Whisky 500ml Bottle
$69.9913 buying options
The Hakushu 18 Year Old Single Malt Whisky
Suntory The Hakushu 18 Year Old Single Malt Whisky 700ml Bottle
$899.003 buying options
The Yamazaki Distiller's Reserve Single Malt Whisky
Suntory The Yamazaki Distiller's Reserve Single Malt Whisky 750ml Bottle
$135.001 buying option
The Hakushu Distillers Reserve Single Malt Whisky
Suntory The Hakushu Distillers Reserve Single Malt Whisky 700ml Bottle
$95.0022 buying options
Kakubin Whisky
Suntory Kakubin Whisky 700ml Bottle
$44.687 buying options
Hibiki Mellow Harmony Blended Whisky
Suntory Hibiki Mellow Harmony Blended Whisky 700ml Bottle
$4,999.001 buying option
Coffey Malt Whisky
Nikka Coffey Malt Whisky 700ml Bottle
$124.996 buying options
Iwai Tradition Blended Japanese Whisky
Mars Iwai Tradition Blended Japanese Whisky 750ml Bottle
$84.995 buying options
Taketsuru Pure Malt 21 Year Old Blended Malt Whisky
Nikka Taketsuru Pure Malt 21 Year Old Blended Malt Whisky 700ml Bottle
$785.001 buying option
Miyagikyo 15 Year Old Single Malt Whisky
Nikka Miyagikyo 15 Year Old Single Malt Whisky 700ml Bottle
$895.002 buying options
Malt Chichibu On The Way Single Malt Whisky
Ichiro's Malt Chichibu On The Way Single Malt Whisky 700ml Bottle
$475.001 buying option
Malt Chichibu Wine Wood Reserve Pure Malt Whisky
Ichiro's Malt Chichibu Wine Wood Reserve Pure Malt Whisky 700ml Bottle
$239.005 buying options
Yoichi Single Malt Japanese Whisky
Nikka Yoichi Single Malt Japanese Whisky 700ml Bottle
$139.992 buying options
Yoichi 12 Year Old Single Malt Whisky
Nikka Yoichi 12 Year Old Single Malt Whisky 700ml Bottle
$650.001 buying option
Malt Chichibu Newborn Heavily Peated Single Malt Japanese Spirit
Ichiro's Malt Chichibu Newborn Heavily Peated Single Malt Japanese Spirit 700ml Bottle
$1,200.001 buying option
Yoichi 15 Year Old Single Malt Whisky
Nikka Yoichi 15 Year Old Single Malt Whisky 700ml Bottle
$949.004 buying options
Malt Chichibu Port Pipe Single Malt Whisky
Ichiro's Malt Chichibu Port Pipe Single Malt Whisky 700ml Bottle
$999.001 buying option
Black Special Blended Whisky
Nikka Black Special Blended Whisky 700ml Bottle
$125.001 buying option
Pure Malt Red Blended Malt Whisky
Nikka Pure Malt Red Blended Malt Whisky 500ml Bottle
$84.992 buying options
Coffey Grain Whisky
Nikka Coffey Grain Whisky 700ml Bottle
$119.9512 buying options
Premium Blended Whisky
Togouchi Premium Blended Whisky 750ml Bottle
$99.991 buying option
Miyagikyo 12 Year Old Single Malt Whisky
Nikka Miyagikyo 12 Year Old Single Malt Whisky 700ml Bottle
$485.001 buying option
Kakubin Whisky
Suntory Kakubin Whisky 50ml Bottle
$30.001 buying option
Yoichi 10 Year Old Single Malt Whisky
Nikka Yoichi 10 Year Old Single Malt Whisky 700ml Bottle
$450.002 buying options
Pure Malt Black Blended Malt Whisky
Nikka Pure Malt Black Blended Malt Whisky 500ml Bottle
$80.002 buying options
Taketsuru Pure Malt Blended Malt Japanese Whisky
Nikka Taketsuru Pure Malt Blended Malt Japanese Whisky 700ml Bottle
$99.9910 buying options
Akashi Japanese Blended Whisky
White Oak Akashi Japanese Blended Whisky 500ml Bottle
$73.952 buying options
Fuji Sanroku 18 Year Old Single Malt Whisky
Kirin Whisky Fuji Sanroku 18 Year Old Single Malt Whisky 700ml Bottle
$749.001 buying option
Tokinoka Blended Whisky
White Oak Tokinoka Blended Whisky 500ml Bottle
$76.497 buying options
Miyagikyo Single Malt Japanese Whisky
Nikka Miyagikyo Single Malt Japanese Whisky 700ml Bottle
$139.993 buying options
Shinshu Komagatake Natural Cask Strength Sherry & American White Oak 3 Year Old
Mars Shinshu Komagatake Natural Cask Strength Sherry & American White Oak 3 Year Old 700ml Bottle
$565.001 buying option
Taketsuru Pure Malt 12 Year Old Blended Malt Whisky
Nikka Taketsuru Pure Malt 12 Year Old Blended Malt Whisky 700ml Bottle
$262.503 buying options
The 12 Year Old Premium Blended Whisky
Nikka The 12 Year Old Premium Blended Whisky 700ml Bottle
$184.996 buying options
The Hakushu Distillers Reserve Single Malt Whisky
Suntory The Hakushu Distillers Reserve Single Malt Whisky 750ml Bottle
$115.001 buying option
Shinsu Twin Alps Blended Whisky
Mars Shinsu Twin Alps Blended Whisky 750ml Bottle
$89.001 buying option
Iwai Tradition Blended Japanese Whisky
Mars Iwai Tradition Blended Japanese Whisky 700ml Bottle
$85.003 buying options
Super Rare Old Blended Whisky
Nikka Super Rare Old Blended Whisky 700ml Bottle
$120.002 buying options
All Malt Whisky
Nikka All Malt Whisky 700ml Bottle
$92.994 buying options
Miyagikyo Sherry Cask Single Malt Whisky
Nikka Miyagikyo Sherry Cask Single Malt Whisky 700ml Bottle
$999.001 buying option
Hibiki 12 Year Old Blended Whisky
Suntory Hibiki 12 Year Old Blended Whisky 700ml Bottle
$749.001 buying option
Kingsland Premier Blended Whisky
Nikka Kingsland Premier Blended Whisky 700ml Bottle
$350.001 buying option
Komagatake Shinanotanpopo Nature of Shinshu Single Malt Japanese Whisky
Mars Komagatake Shinanotanpopo Nature of Shinshu Single Malt Japanese Whisky 700ml Bottle
$253.992 buying options
The Blend of Nikka Maltbase Whisky
Nikka The Blend of Nikka Maltbase Whisky 660ml Bottle
$250.001 buying option
Hibiki 17 Year Old Blended Whisky
Suntory Hibiki 17 Year Old Blended Whisky 50ml Bottle
$99.001 buying option
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