Single Malt Whiskey From Japan – The Next Big Thing

on 20/02/13 at 2:21 pm


imagesIf you like whiskey, especially single malt Scotch whisky, then you owe it to yourself to try some of the Japanese stuff.

When I say it’s the next big thing I mean in terms of trend, not history. Japan has been making whiskey for over a century, and its most famous brand, the Yamazaki, is celebrating its 90th birthday this year. The best available book on whiskies, which I have written about here before at length, Dave Broom’s World Atlas of Whisky, gives Japan its own chapter, an honor otherwise reserved only for Scotland, Ireland, Canada and the US, while the rest of Asia is relegated, along with South Africa and Australia, to “The Rest of the World.”

Broom explains that a case of Scotch whisky reached Japan in 1872 and immediately kicked off a scramble to start producing home grown versions, which in a convoluted tale (but the book!) led to the founding of Yamazaki and from there to Suntory, the brewery and distillery giant that still owns the brand today. The slogan of Suntory’s whiskey division is “The art of Japanese whiskey since 1923.”