History & Facts

Japanese Whiskey

We have talked about whiskey / whisky, many types of whiskey and their differences. Japanese whiskey doesn’t have much different either, like whisky being distilled in Scotland is called Scotch, whiskey being distilled in Japan is called Japanese Whiskey but majorly it is very similar to scotch.

Similarly, like Scotch whisky, Japanese whiskey too have varieties i.e blended whiskey, single malt whiskey and blended malt whiskey.

If it is to believe, the production of Japanese whiskey was started so as to recreate the scotch whisky. Even choosing the location to set up the distillery was also inspired by the conditions of the place as similar to Scotland.

History of Japanese Whiskey

In Japan, the production of whiskey began in the third quarter of the 19th century. 19th century marked the beginning of production of whiskey in Japan but it was commercially started in the year 1924 when the country got its first distillery.

Whiskey production in Japan was majorly embarked by two personalities. Firstly, the founder of Suntory, Shinjiro Torii and secondly, the person Shinjiro Torii hired as executive for his distillery, Masataka Taketsuru. Masataka studied the art of distillery in Scotland and was hired by Shinjiro to help built Japan’s first distillery, Yamazaki in the year 1923.

Masataka stayed with Suntory (then known as Kotobukiya) for a little over a decade, before separating himself and going his own separate way to form Nikka (then known as Dainipponkaju). Country got numerous distillers today, with the best whiskeys coming from Suntory (Yamazaki) and Yoichi (Nikka).

Japanese Whiskey

Both Yamazaki and Nikka owns more than one distilleries in Japan. Today, there are about nine active distilleries in Japan, with Yamazaki (by Suntory) still maintaining its active status after being the first distillery of Japan.

Japanese whiskey market became international 2001 when whiskey magazine awarded Yoichi single malt by Nikka as “Best of the Best“. Since then Japanese whiskeys have got many awards and recognitions internationally. Yamazaki was greeted to US market in 2004 with its 18 Y.O.