You might be a rookie whisky drinker or you might want to branch out from Scotch and American bourbons. Japanese whiskies experienced steady growth in the 1990s, but it was not until the 2010s that they attained global acclaim, particularly after receiving a few noteworthy nods in the whisky awards world. Less than a dozen distilleries that manufacture different types of whisky are currently in operation in Japan. Although Japanese whiskies were modeled after Scottish traditions, which include double distilling malted and peated barley before it is matured in oak barrels, they have distinguished themselves by fusing these with some distinctive Japanese inventions.
For example, Suntory's Yamazaki Distillery uses a unique type of water that is sourced from mountains close to Tokyo, while other distilleries distinguish their bottles by using barrels made from a tree that can only be found in Japan, Mizunara, along with a variety of yeast strains, which give the beverage its own unique flavor. Here are the best Japanese whiskies for beginners, whether you are seeking a new whisky highball base or a regular sip.
Nikka From The Barrel
Nikka From The Barrel is an easy-drinking Japanese whisky that will go over well with beginners in addition to Yamazaki 12 Year Old. But the formula is anything but straightforward. Before being put in used barrels and aged for a few more months, the bottle is created by combining more than 100 different batches of malt and grain whiskies. The outcome? With a rich citrus fruit flavor on the palate and a spicy pepperiness to the scent, the formula comes together in a calm harmony.
The Hibiki Harmony is a remarkably light bottle that is user-friendly for even non-whisky drinkers when compared to smokier, spicier whiskies. A delicate cinnamon and oak spiciness follows the alluring smells of apricots, orange blossom, and marmalade at the start and end of the experience, respectively. The Hibiki Harmony is a wonderful addition to any home bar since it is soft, elegant, and brimming with loads of orange-blossom character.
Yamato Small Batch
The largest distillery in Japan's Yamanashi Prefecture, southwest of Tokyo on the main island of Honshu, is where Yamato was first produced. Great harmony is what the Japanese kanji on the label, which are the ideal descriptor of the rich whisky, mean when translated. The Yamato is a combination of malted Scotch whisky and a distillate prepared from special grain harvested in the Yamanashi Prefecture, claims the distillery.
Yamato Samurai Takeda
The Japanese public wanted a softer, smoother, less-smoky whisky, therefore the country's master distillers labored diligently to meet their preferences. As a result, a whisky was produced that, due to its high quality and previously unheard of flavors and finishes, rivals even the most legendary scotches. Not to add that the light, sweet, and floral qualities of whiskey combined with sparkling water made the whisky Highball famous in Japan.
In doing so, Yamato wonderfully complements the flavor characteristics of traditional Japanese whisky. From the very beginning, you can taste vanillas, lovely fruits, and a silky smooth finish. Yamato is your gateway into the premium Japanese whisky market. Take it neat, on the rocks, or in a highball and enjoy it.