If you're looking for something that packs a stronger punch than your usual wines and beers, look no further than Japanese whiskey. Although they are not the country that first started whiskey, Japan has made it into their own by brilliantly combining innovation and tradition. It has successfully launched them into one of the best producers of whiskey in the world.
In this article, we will guide you through the basics of whiskey as well as its different types to help you find the best Japanese whiskey in no time. It is great if you want something different for the holidays. We have also included a little cocktail recipe if you find it too strong for your taste. You can choose among our top 10 list to help you get started.
When you talk of whiskey, it is predominantly produced in Scotland, Ireland, the USA, Canada, and Japan. If you are wondering about the differences in spelling, both are correct. It just varies on the location. The name whiskey is used by Ireland and the USA, while whisky is used by Scotland, Canada, and Japan.
It is a type of alcoholic beverage that is made from fermented grains. These usually consist of malt, barley, rye, corn, and wheat. However, there are some manufacturers that get creative and make use of oats, millet, and quinoa.
You may come across a fermented marsh, which just means that a mixture of grains was used in the blend. It is similar to beer in the sense that both are made from grains.
Whiskey takes it a step further by distilling the liquor in a device called a still, after which it is aged in wooden barrels. This is responsible for infusing flavor into the drink as well as where it gets its brown color.
Japanese whiskey is said to be similar to Scottish whiskey. However, the Scots have small distilleries that frequently trade their own blends in order to produce a unique blend. Japanese whiskey has multiple distilleries that focus on honing its own technique, which results in a distinct style for each house.
New to whiskeys? No problem, this buying guide will see you through the basics whiskey in order to help you choose the blend for you.
Generally, Japanese whiskey can be categorized into 3; single malt, grain, and blended whiskey. We'll go over the qualities of each one so you can see which one will suit your tastes best.
Single malt means that it has been produced in just one distillery. It can get confusing, but it does not necessarily mean that the whiskey comes from a single blend. In fact, it can come from a blend of several barrels and aging that have been blended together. This type of whiskey is matured for at least 3 years in oak barrels.
Malt refers to the use of a single grainー barley. It undergoes germination, a process where it is steeped in a tank for a few days. Whiskey itself is noted to taste woody and oaky as a result of aging in wooden barrels, which primarily gives it flavor. Single malt heightens those characteristics and adds hints of caramel and vanilla.
It results in a smooth, well-rounded, and mellow taste. It has been noted to not be recommended for beginners as it might come off as too strong. Therefore, it is suited for the more experienced drinker who can appreciate its robust taste, and it highlights the unique quality of the distillery.
We already know that whiskeys, in general, contain a blend of grains, but grain whisky refers to the liquor that is made from grains other than malted barley; some use wheat, corn, or rye.
In contrast to single malt whiskey, grain whiskey has higher alcohol content, but it has a smoother taste. It also doesn’t come on too strong like the single malt variety. Think of it as having not that big of a “tama” the kind that will knock your socks off. However, only few options are available on the market.
Its taste can also depend on the dominant type of grain used; if the majority comes from corn, it can taste sweet, whereas rye can taste dry and spicy.
Blended whiskey is one of its most popular forms in the world. It is also easier to find, less expensive, and generally matches well with food. It contains a blend of multiple raw liquors, which can consist of both single malt and grain whiskies, which can come from different distilleries.
Although it is not as refined and coveted as the single malt variety, blended whiskeys are also smooth in flavor; this is because the hardness of the single malt is softened by blending it with grain whiskeys. It results in an easily drinkable liquor that can also be mixed in with cocktails.
If you’re just venturing into drinking whiskey, we suggest going for the blended kind, so you don’t feel the burn as much if you drink it on its own. This way, you could dilute it with other drinks such as softdrinks.
Unlike wine, whiskey uses proof to express its alcohol content. The proof determines its strength or potency. Whiskeys usually have an average of 80 proof. You can easily determine its alcohol content by dividing the proof by 2. This means that if a liquor has 80 proof, then it has 40% alcohol by volume or ABV.
If you're new to drinking whiskeys, we recommend mixing it with other drinks first to dilute the taste. This way, you won't have to taste the whiskey at its full intensity. You could work your way up when you have gotten used to it.
Here are the best Japanese whiskeys whether you are looking to switch up your usual booze or wanting to update your current whiskey collection.
**Prices may vary depending on the website and their campaign period**
Yamazaki Distiller's Reserve
Hibiki Japanese Harmony
From the Barrel
Hakushu Distiller's Reserve
The Chita Japanese Whisky
Miyagikyo Single Malt
Coffey Grain. Whisky
Ichiro's Malt and Grain Whisky
Kakubin Japanese Whisky
Whiskey That Can Be Enjoyed by Everyone
Indulge Your Palette With Its Honeyed Sweetness
Dark and Full-Bodied, Packs Quite the Punch
For a Refreshing and Fruity Twist
Light Tasting and Fragrant, Great for Mixing
Up Your Whiskey Game with Oaky Single Malt
Sweet Flavor That Suits a Variety of Taste
Grain Whisky to Switch Up Your Cocktails
Smoky and Woody, Perfect for Meat Dishes
The Original Choice for Japanese Highballs
|Price Starts at||₱7,800||₱10,990||₱3,390||₱6,549||₱3,900||₱3,749||₱2,990||₱4,490||₱3,590||₱809|
|Type||Single Malt||Blended||Blended||Single Malt||Grain||Single Malt||Blended||Grain||Blended||Blended|
|Volume||700 ml||700 ml||50 cl||700 ml||700 ml||70 cl||700 ml||700 ml||700 ml||700 ml|
The Japanese highball is a drink that can stand on its own as a cocktail as much as it can be enjoyed with your meal. The way it's crafted screams more art form than just cocktail making. It's the quintessential drink and Samurai Chajin show you how it's done.
If you're not a fan of whiskey, that's fine! The drink can take some getting used to. Here are other alcoholic beverages that are easier to knock back on their own.
Japanese whiskey has quickly cemented its place as one of the best whiskeys in the world. They have managed to innovate this Scottish drink into their own by combining innovation and tradition. We hope to have given you an idea of what Japanese whiskey to buy whether you're a whiskey enthusiast or looking to satisfy your curiosity.
Author: J. Cuizon
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