Japanese whiskeys have become internationally renowned for their quality and harmony. According to the experts, some make the list of the best in the world. Although whisky is a Scottish creation, and bourbon a product of the US, Japan has been producing whiskey for decades with high-quality standards. The father of whiskey production in this part of the world is Shinjiro Torii, founder of Suntory group, who opened his first distillery in the Yamazaki Valley in 1923. Hakushu, Hibiki, and Nikka joined the enterprise years later. At present, Japanese whiskeys are world-renowned for their subtlety, harmony, and presence. We bring you our top 4 picks Best Japanese Whiskeys. Any of them could be number 1 on our list: Yamazaki 18 years, Miyagikyo 12 years, Hibiki 21 years, and Hakushu 12 years. Enjoy!
Yamazaki is the birthplace of the amazing, delicate and profound experience that is Japanese single malt. Spiritual and intense, its taste is highly appreciated by whiskey experts worldwide. Produced by Suntory Limited with malted barley, Yamazaki 18 years has a coppery golden color with a bouquet that fills the nose, due to the fact that previously the barrel had been previously used to age sherry. After the initial sensation, you’ll discover hints of candied cherries, chocolate, spices, and raisins. On the palate, the finish is long and tasty.
Nikka, founded in 1939, produces this single malt bottled after 12 years of maturation. This whiskey stands out for its full body and complex character and shows a bright amber color. In the nose, you will appreciate floral notes with hints of toffee and dark chocolate. In the mouth, it is defined by a sweet taste, with a touch of citrus that adds an interesting acidity. It has a smooth, long finish, tinged with spices, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
This superb whiskey produced by Suntory is a combination of malts and grains carefully selected and aged for 21 years. In Japanese, Hibiki means “harmony”, the word that best describes this exquisite distillate, recognized in 2013 as the World’s Best Whiskey by the World Whiskies Awards (WWA). Hibiki 21 has a bronze color, aromas of raisins, figs and ripe dates with a touch of macadamia nuts and black cocoa. On the palate, it is robust and persistent with pleasant woody notes.
The Hakushu distillery is located in a bucolic landscape, not far from the forests of the Japanese Alps. Hakushu whiskey— with 12 years of barrel maturation— is one of their best achievements. With a light golden color, in the nose, it has interesting fresh hints of cereals like hay and freshly cut wheat, together with hazelnuts and toasted oak accents. In the mouth, the taste is clean with notes of fresh fruit, malt barley, soft smoke, wildflowers and also lime and bitter orange. Its finish is deep, sweet and spicy. ■