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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.

 

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Hatozaki Pure Malt is Japanese blend of different single malts matured in ex Bourbon, ex Sherry and native Japanese Mizunara oak barrels. Made by Kaikyo Distillery, one of the new Japanese distillerie...
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Hatozaki
£47.95
Hatozaki Japanese Blend is a new project by Kaikyo Distillery which was found on Akashi Sake Distillery site who's well known by its Akashi-Tai sake. Named after Hatozaki Lighthouse, the oldest stone ...
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Hatozaki
£33.95
Whisky production only takes place at the Akashi distillery for four months a year. They use the traditional methods of Japanese whisky production (which are also the methods used in Scotland). The bl...
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Akashi
£36.95
This rare release from Hakushu illustrates why this is one of the most interesting malt distilleries in Japan. The complexity on display is very impressive and at this subtly peated whisky is an under...
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Hakushu
£445.00
Built in 1973, Hakushu is a beautiful distillery based in the forests at the foot of the Japanese Southern Alps. They produce a lightly smoked whisky that has a balanced fruitiness.
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Hakushu
£149.95
A mixture of many different ages, this Hakushu has a dash of light peated whisky and has mostly been matured in American white oak. We were really impressed by the fruitiness that comes through on thi...
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Hakushu
£64.95
This wonderful bottling from Hibiki is a blend of 17 year old whiskies from Yamazaki, Hakushu and Chita Grain distillery. It contains influences of bourbon, sherry and Mizunara casks, taking on a love...
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Hibiki
£445.00
A blended whisky that typifies the all-conquering Hibiki style: balanced, fruity with a wisp of incense smoke from the Mizunara (Japanese oak).
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Hibiki
£64.95
Matured on the waves of the sea, Kaiyo whisky is transported in native Mizunara oak casks by boat from Japan. This unusual process adds a great deal of complexity to the spirit before it is bottled in...
Mizunara
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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. As the whisky is shipped within the barrels this promotes more ...
Mizunara
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Kaiyo
£104.95
Shinanotanpopo means 'Dandelion of Shinano', the alpine region of Japan now known as Nagano, where the Mars Shinshu distillery can be found. The Komagatake Shinanotanpopo bottling is the third in the ...
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Mars
£124.95
A blend of malt and grain whiskies by Mars Shinshu distillery with very soft and floral character. Interestingly 'Kasei' is the Japanese word for Mars.
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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. It's just as smooth as you would hope for it to be.
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Mars Maltage
£59.95
An intense and fruity Japanese whisky which is reminiscent of the Speyside single malts of Scotland. The clear air and fresh, pure water make for an ideal location to create this amazing whisky.
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Miyagikyo
£74.95
The smoky notes of the whiskies crafted at the Yoichi distillery are the hallmarks of the Nikka Pure Malt Black. They're combined with softer styles of whisky made at Miyagikyo to create a wonderfully...
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Nikka
£46.50
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. This ensures a soft, easy drinking style which is comp...
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Nikka
£46.50
Nikka's reserves of malt and grain whiskies are scoured to find the right combination of casks to create this whisky's profile. The whiskies from separate barrels are blended and allowed to marry for ...
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Nikka
£39.95
Miyashita Distillery had been producing beer, sake and shochu well before moving into Japanese whisky. A rewarding move though, and this bottling - named after the southern prefecture of Japan that th...
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Okayama
£144.95
Named after the founder of the Nikka whisky company, Masataka Taketsuru.
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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. However, you ...
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The Chita
£49.95
This blended whisky from Nikka in Japan features both malt and grain whiskies from its two distilleries; Yoichi and Miyagiyko. All whiskies were aged at least 12 years old and have been blended to cr...
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The Nikka
£104.95
A 12 year old blended whisky from the Chugoku distillery which is based near Hiroshima. The whisky has been slowly matured in their unique way by placing the casks in an abandoned tunnel for a constan...
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Togouchi
£83.95
Chugoku Jozo distillery has been producing spirits and liqueurs for almost 100 hundred years. Their Master Blender hand picks selected whiskies and has them matured in a gigantic tunnel built in the 1...
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Togouchi
£45.95
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. The gentle spirit of Yamazaki is b...
Mizunara
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Yamazaki
£545.00
12 year old malt whisky from the first whisky distillery to be built in Japan. A sweet, full bodied, fruity and slightly smoky whisky. The supplies of this due to popularity are pretty scarce so grab ...
IN STOCK
Yamazaki
£110.00
Yamazaki have been crafting brilliant single malt whisky for close to 100 years, and this is no exception. A mixture of sherry oak casks, and some French oak casks.
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Yamazaki
£64.95
A unique whisky from Nikka distillery. Made with a base of 100% malted barley but distilled in the fashion of grain whisky. Smooth, fresh but packed with lots of feel good flavour. A perfect dram for ...
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Nikka
£56.95
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.
A 10 year old Japanese single malt whisky, aged in ex bourbon casks, and created by Mondo Shuzo, a Japanese wine producer.
Bourbon
Fujikai
£48.95
An remarkable blended whisky from Suntory using their malt whiskies from Yamazaki and Hakushu and grain whiskies from Chita. A Japanese whisky of this age and quality is scarcely seen on the market to...
Hibiki
£475.00
What a wonderful bottle. Hibiki, one of Japan's most famous blended whiskies, is celebrating it's 30th anniversary. They've marked the occasion with the very limited and very beautiful hand painted bo...
The first example of this cult, closed Japanese distillery from Boutiquey Whisky Co. As always with Karuizawa, this is a very limited release with only 186 bottles available. One of the most in demand...
Sherry
Karuizawa
£2,262.95
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...
Sherry
Karuizawa
£7,995.00
Kohiganzakura is named after the famed cherry blossom that covers the Nagano region of Japan. This is the second bottling in the Nature of Shinshu range and the whisky has been ever so subtly smoky. I...
When it opened in 1985 the Shinshu distillery only produced whisky in the harsh winter months. This is a very rare 30 year old bottling from the distillery before it closed for nineteen years in 1992....
Mars
£1,495.00
One of two whiskies made to celebrate the 100th wedding anniversary of its founders Masataka Taketsuru and Rita Cowan (we've chosen to include Rita as a founder, as she played such a big role). Fittli...
Apple Brandy Finish
Miyagikyo
£194.95
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...
Miyagikyo
£2,750.00
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. This Miyagikyo...
Rum Finish
Miyagikyo
£164.95
A single cask bottling of Yoichi by distillery owners Nikka in 2003. The cask number was #228276 and was matured for 13 years until bottling in 2003 with all bottles produced at 62.3%.
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. Nikka's blends are always v...
Nikka
Nikka Days 40% 70cl
£39.95
This blended whisky has been made with a character which is approachable for even the most green of whisky drinkers. Light, fresh and packed full of flavour it's a wonderful addition to any drinks cab...
Nikka
£34.95
Nikka may well be known for their whisky production now, but when Masataka Taketsuru originally founded the company, they produced cider and apple juice to turn a profit while they built up their whis...
Rita
£345.00
Meaning 'time' in Japanese, Toki is a blended whisky from Suntory featuring the three distilleries Yamazaki, Hakushu and Chita. It has been crafted differently to its sister blend HIbiki and features ...
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Suntory Toki
£27.95
The wonderful 21 year old release from Taketsuru. A wonderfully deep and engrossing whisky.
Taketsuru
£330.00
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.
Taketsuru
£1,395.00
It was through his travels to Scotland that Masataka Taketsuru became known as the 'Father of Japanese Whisky'. After working in several of Scotland's top distilleries he traveled home to start crafti...
Taketsuru
£2,500.00
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. Masataka Taketsuru lived ...
Taketsuru
£244.95
The 5th release of the innovative and sought after 'Fusion whisky'. Named after Thomas Blake Glover, who opened up trade between Japan and Britain in the 19th Century and eventually was awarded the ...
Bourbon
The Glover
£114.95
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.
The Glover
£142.95
A fusion of Japanese and Scotch whisky, named in honour of Thomas Blake Glover 'The Scottish Samurai'. He was a Scottish businessman who found great success and respect in Japan at a time when the co...
The Glover
£144.95
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...
Togouchi
£128.95

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