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Japanese Whisky

The base of Japanese whisky production is modelled on the production methods employed in Scotland but with many changes and refinements along the way making the distilleries there much more adaptable.

 

Japanese whisky has taken the world by storm in the last decade but it is not a new industry -  the first distillery, Yamazaki,  was built in Japan in 1923 and still produces whisky today.

 

The beginnings of Japanese whisky can really be boiled down to the passion of two men - Masataka Taketsuru and Shinjiro Torii. In 1918 Masataka Taketsuru travelled to Scotland to study at Glasgow University. After this he travelled and worked for several Scottish distilleries including Longmorn and Hazelburn. During this time he met his wife Rita, who hailed from Kirkkintilloch, and in 1920 they left for Japan together. Taketsuru would go onto work for the company that would become Suntory. Suntory was owned by Shinjiro Torii who wanted to build Japan's first whisky distillery and in 1923 Yamazaki distillery was opened and Masataka Taketsuru was employed as the distillery manager. After several years at Yamazaki, Masataka struck out on his own and built a distillery on the Japanese Island of Hokkaido, the site he originally wanted for Yamazaki. He thought this Island was the most similar site to Scotland in Japan and would yield the best results when making whisky. Yoichi distillery became the basis of the other major producer of Japanese whisky - Nikka.

 

To this day Suntory and Nikka are the biggest producers of whisky in Japan. The two competitors will not sell any whisky to each other, as is the common practice in Scotland, so to make sure they have a catalogue of flavours for blending they make several different styles of whisky at each distillery. In one distillery they may produce a light, fresh, malty whisky one day and a heavy, peaty, oily whisky the next and this a practice that sets Japanese whisky apart. Using different cuts, yeasts, distilling lengths and maturations means that Japanese companies have complete autonomy when creating their blends.

 

Japanese distillers have also put their own stamp on maturation by using casks made from slow growing Japanese Mizunara oak and maturing whiskies in barrels that have previously contained Umeshu, which is a traditional Plum Liqueur.

 

Japanese Whisky:

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Whisky production only takes place at the Akashi distillery for four months a year.
IN STOCK
Akashi
£32.95
Akashi themselves declare this lovely single malt whisky as "powerful" but the white oak has also added in a lovely gentle, fresh flavour to it.
IN STOCK
Built in 1973, Hakushu is a beautiful distillery based in the forests at the foot of the Japanese Southern Alps.
IN STOCK
Hakushu
£145.00
A mixture of many different ages, this Hakushu has a dash of light peated whisky and has mostly been matured in American white oak.
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Hakushu
£57.95
This wonderful bottling from Hibiki is a blend of 17 year old whiskies from Yamazaki, Hakushu and Chita Grain distillery.
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Hibiki
£395.00
A blended whisky that typifies the all-conquering Hibiki style: balanced, fruity with a wisp of incense smoke from the Mizunara (Japanese oak).
IN STOCK
Hibiki
£62.95
Matured on the waves of the sea, Kaiyo whisky is transported in native Mizunara oak casks by boat from Japan.
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Kaiyo
£79.95
A very interesting whisky hailing from Japan. This Kaiyo has been bottled at natural cask strength and shipped in rare Mizunara barrels.
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Kaiyo
£104.95
A blend of malt and grain whiskies by Mars Shinshu distillery with very soft and floral character.
IN STOCK
Mars
£44.95
This new distillery is causing waves in the Japanese whisky industry. This a blended malt which includes whisky from the Shinshu region of Japan.
IN STOCK
Mars Maltage
£59.95
Released to commemorate Miyagikyo's 50th anniversary in 2019, Nikka have created this limited edition whisky containing casks from five decades (the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and 00s) presented in a black bo ...
IN STOCK
Miyagikyo
£2,750.00
An intense and fruity Japanese whisky which is reminiscent of the Speyside single malts of Scotland.
IN STOCK
Miyagikyo
Miyagikyo 43% 70cl
£74.95
The smoky notes of the whiskies crafted at the Yoichi distillery are the hallmarks of the Nikka Pure Malt Black.
IN STOCK
Nikka
£46.50
A unique whisky from Nikka distillery. Made with a base of 100% malted barley but distilled in the fashion of grain whisky.
STAFF PICK
IN STOCK
Nikka
£56.95
A smooth and delicate blended whisky from Japanese icons Nikka. Days is composed of Coffey Grain, Coffey malt, lightly peated Miyagikyo single malt and Yoichi single malt.
IN STOCK
Nikka
Nikka Days 40% 70cl
£39.95
Nikka's reserves of malt and grain whiskies are scoured to find the right combination of casks to create this whisky's profile.
IN STOCK
Nikka
£39.95
The Nikka Pure Malt Red is a blend of whiskies from different areas of Japan, with the largest proportion being made at the Miyagikyo distillery.
IN STOCK
Nikka
£46.50
Meaning 'time' in Japanese, Toki is a blended whisky from Suntory featuring the three distilleries Yamazaki, Hakushu and Chita.
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IN STOCK
Suntory Toki

WAS £32.95

NOW £27.95

The wonderful 21 year old release from Taketsuru. A wonderfully deep and engrossing whisky.
IN STOCK
Taketsuru
£330.00
Named after the founder of the Nikka whisky company, Masataka Taketsuru.
IN STOCK
Taketsuru
£53.95
Chita grain whiskies have traditionally been used as the 'dashi' or broth (the liquid the ties it all together) in many of the most famous Japanese blends, especially those from Suntory.
IN STOCK
The Chita
£49.95
Chugoku Jozo distillery has been producing spirits and liqueurs for almost 100 hundred years.
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Togouchi
£44.95
A 12 year old blended whisky from the Chugoku distillery which is based near Hiroshima.
IN STOCK
Togouchi
£81.95
Yamazaki have been crafting brilliant single malt whisky for close to 100 years, and this is no exception.
IN STOCK
Yamazaki
£59.95
12 year old malt whisky from the first whisky distillery to be built in Japan. A sweet, full bodied, fruity and slightly smoky whisky.
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Yamazaki
£110.00
The Yamazakura takes its name from two Japanese symbols; 'Yama', meaning Mountain, and 'Sakura', meaning 'Cherry Blossoms'.
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Yamazakura
£48.95
Yoichi is a whisky from Japan which has a lot in common with the whiskies made in Scotland.
IN STOCK
Yoichi
£73.95
Yoichi was the first distillery to be built by Masataka Taketsuru in 1934. He was heavily inspired by Scotland and its whisky making and imported peated barley from Scotland and decided to use coal fi ...
IN STOCK
Yoichi
£174.95
A 10 year old Japanese single malt whisky, aged in ex bourbon casks, and created by Mondo Shuzo, a Japanese wine producer.
OUT OF STOCK
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Fujikai
£48.95
This rare release from Hakushu illustrates why this is one of the most interesting malt distilleries in Japan.
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Hakushu
£325.00
What a wonderful bottle. Hibiki, one of Japan's most famous blended whiskies, is celebrating it's 30th anniversary.
OUT OF STOCK
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A remarkable release, which will no doubt surprise many that it even exists. The famous private collector Mahesh Patel purchased a prized sherry butt of this closed Japanese distillery, and bottled it ...
OUT OF STOCK
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Karuizawa
£7,995.00
The first example of this cult, closed Japanese distillery from Boutiquey Whisky Co.
OUT OF STOCK
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Karuizawa
£2,262.95
When it opened in 1985 the Shinshu distillery only produced whisky in the harsh winter months.
OUT OF STOCK
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Mars
£1,495.00
Kohiganzakura is named after the famed cherry blossom that covers the Nagano region of Japan.
OUT OF STOCK
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Built in 1969 on the northern part of the main island of Japan, Miyagikyo distilley produces a light, fruity spirit in cotrast to the peated character of its sister distillery, Yoichi.
OUT OF STOCK
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Miyagikyo
£164.95
This blended whisky has been made with a character which is approachable for even the most green of whisky drinkers.
OUT OF STOCK
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Nikka
£34.95
The pinnacle release in the Taketsuru range. Every whisky used in this blended malt has been matured for at least 25 years before being carefully woven together to create a complex and elegant whisky.
OUT OF STOCK
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Taketsuru
£1,395.00
A classic in the art of whisky blending, in our humble opinion. This is an aged Japanese blended whisky of the highest calibre and named after one of our heroes from history.
OUT OF STOCK
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Taketsuru
£199.95
It was through his travels to Scotland that Masataka Taketsuru became known as the 'Father of Japanese Whisky'.
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Taketsuru
£2,500.00
A fusion of Japanese and Scotch whisky, named in honour of Thomas Blake Glover 'The Scottish Samurai'.
OUT OF STOCK
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The Glover
£144.95
The 4th release of the genre bending 'fusion whisky' The Glover. A wonderful mix of 18 year old Japanese and Scottish whisky which honours 'The Scottish Samurai' Thomas Blake Glover.
OUT OF STOCK
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The Glover
£142.95
An 18 year old blended whisky from Japan. The Chugoku Jozo distillery is based near Hiroshima and has been crafting spirits and liqueurs for nearly 100 years and their Master Blender has chosen some o ...
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Togouchi
£128.95
A truly special bottle of whisky. This single malt, produced in 1979 at the Yamazaki distillery, has been bottled from a single cask in September 1979.
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Yamazaki
£2,995.00
Mizunara oak is notoriously difficult to work with and only grows in a few select regions of Japan.
OUT OF STOCK
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No matter where you are in the world if you were making up a list of 'must try whiskies', we'd suspect Yamazaki 18 year old would be well placed on most those lists.
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Yamazaki
£495.00
A high strength bottling from a robustly flavoured Japanese distillery that has the respect of malt fans the world over.
OUT OF STOCK
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Yoichi
£1,250.00
Yoichi distillery is located on the Hokkaido island of Japan. It was bulit in 1934 and was the first of Nikka's distilleries (followed eventually by Miyagikyo in 1969).
OUT OF STOCK
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Yoichi
£174.95
Nikka have commemorated Miyagikyo's 50th anniversary with limited edition releases from their two malt distilleries in Japan.
OUT OF STOCK
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Yoichi
£2,750.00

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