Welcome to this week’s edition of Whiskies of the World; the series that teaches you about different nations’ whiskies and how they came to be. In this edition, we’re delving into the world of Japanese Whisky, one of the rising stars in the international spirits market.
The Japanese have been producing whisky commercially since the 1920s, but it wasn’t until the late 1980s that it was exported, and the early 2000s before it was internationally recognized. Today, Japanese whisky is highly regarded for its unique blend of heritage and innovation, resulting in some exciting flavor combinations.
Today, we’ll be learning all about the history of Japanese whisky, what makes it unique in the spirits world, as well as recommending some choice bottles for you to sample. So, tulip glasses at the ready – let’s dive in!
20 years ago, the mention of Japanese whisky would have likely left non-native connoisseurs with blank faces. But, since the early 2000s, the rise of Japanese whisky outside of Japan has been meteoric. Japanese whisky owes a great deal to Scotch – indeed, as we’ll find out, Scotch is what it was initially modeled on – but, it quickly evolved into own beast, thanks in no small part to its distillers’ innovative production methods.
Produced in Japan since the 1800s, the commercial availability of whisky in the country came much later than in other whisky producing regions. Japan’s whisky boom began in the 1920s, with two whisky distillers at the forefront – Masataka Taketsuru and Shinjiro Torri.