Updated: April 17, 2018
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5 Things To Know Before Having A Bottle Of Japanese Whiskey

Japanese whiskeys are among the best in the world. Hopefully, if you've clicked on this link you know that. But how much do you really know Japanese whiskey? Its History, the Brands, and so on. Before grabbing a bottle of Japanese whiskey and start sipping its delicious content, why don't you take a quick look at some of the main questions people have about Japanese whiskey.

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1: What are Japanese whiskeys?

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Whiskey production in Japan started in the 1870s. Both single-malt and blend whiskeys have been produced from that time. Among the many distillers which produce Japanese whiskeys, there are two major distillers, Suntory and Nikka (up to 90% of all Japanese whiskeys are produced by these two companies)

The history of Japanese whiskey production started by imitating the scotch whiskeys. Nowadays, the strong smoky flavor of Scotch whiskeys are arranged into a smoother taste witch you can only enjoy them in Japanese whiskeys.

2: What are the good Japanese whiskey brands?

Suntory whiskey

Established in 1899, Suntory has always been the top Japanese whiskey company since it started making whiskeys in 1923. Their major product "Kaku-bin" (The name came from the square shape of the bottle) created a whiskey boom a few years ago by encouraging people to have the whiskey in high-ball drinks (whiskey cut with soda). In 2014, Suntory bought Beam Inc. and became the third largest spirits maker in the world. Yamazaki, Chita, Hakushu, and Hibiki are the popular brands of Suntory whiskeys.

Nikka whiskey

Compared with Suntory whiskey, Nikka whiskey started a little later, in 1934. Their products have been well-regarded since they started and they have many big fans in Japan and abroad. Their major product is the Black Nikka Clear, famous for its unique character. The Taketsuru whiskey (the name came from the name of the founder), is also another popular product of Nikka.

3: Where are they distilled?

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The main distillery of Suntory is Yamazaki distillery near Kyoto. They also have the Chita distillery and the Hakushu distillery.

Nikka whiskey has a distillery located in Sapporo.

Some distilleries hold tours of the production facilities. If you want to learn about whiskeys, it's a great idea to go visit one of them.

4: How do Japanese drink whiskey?

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High-ball drinks have become extremely popular in Japan in recent years. High-ball is simply a drink which you cut your whiskey with some soda and sometimes add some lemon slices.

Until few decades before in Japan, whiskey was regarded as an old-fashioned drink, mainly consumed by the elderly. In order to change this image, high-balls where massively advertised. The low-alcohol by content (usually around 8%) and the fact that they are quite easy to drink, made them a popular drink among the younger generation who was unfamiliar with whiskey.

5: What are Yamazaki and Hibiki whiskeys and how are they different?

Yamazaki and Hibiki are the top two ranked products of the Suntory distilleries. Yamazaki is a malt whiskey and Hibiki is a blended whiskey. The taste differs as well. Yamazaki has a stronger taste than Hibiki and some scent of peat. Yamazaki whiskeys are still smoother spirits than Irish whiskeys which have a really strong taste. Hibiki is made by blending different kinds of Japanese whiskeys. The taste is smoother than Yamazaki and has a good harmony (Hibiki means harmony in Japanese).
Quite sure I'm a Ramen freak. Almost up to 200ramens in 2017. Not only ramens but also love to eat around and drink around.

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