The world of whisky is getting wider
Some of the world’s best whiskys are made in…Japan? The Land of the Rising Sun is becoming a big player on the World Stage of Whisky.
Image from Sydney Bar Week // The Land of the Rising Sun is becoming a big player on the World Stage of Whiskey.
Japan. Home of beautiful sights, awe-inspiring history & culture, and award winning whiskey tradition. You read that right. Japan is becoming a big player on the world stage of Whisky.
Japanese Whiskey has been growing in popularity in the U.S. over the last few years, and we can see why. Americans love whiskey! Our thirst for bourbon and whiskey is a powerful one, and it is also an expensive one.
Prices for Japanese whisky run the gamut from anywhere around $20 bucks a bottle to close to a couple grand. A bottle of 1960 Karuizawa whisky sold at a Hong Kong auction for $118,500 last August.
Don’t let the sticker shock completely turn you off to the idea of trying Japanese Whisky. There are plenty of fantastic Japanese Whisky options that you can get in the U.S. for less than $100 a bottle. Here are some great Japanese Whiskies you can get without breaking the bank.
Suntory Whisky Toki (~$30)
Image from // Suntory
If you want to jump into the world of Japanese whisky without taking a chunk out of your wallet, Suntory Whisky Toki is a great start. This whisky is 1) widely available state side and 2) under $40 depending on where you live (We can get it here in NC for $30 plus tax). This light golden whisky is subtly sweet with a spicy finish, and has notes of honey and vanilla. Suntory Whisky Toki can be enjoyed neat or try it in a cocktail like a Highball or Whiskey Sour.
Hibiki Japanese Harmony (~$65)
Image from // Whisky Monster
Like single malts? Give Hibiki Japanese Harmony a try! The Hibiki is a light, young, blended whisky that is aged in Mizunara Japanese oak casks. It is easy to drink and has a subtle spiciness of cinnamon and clove. The sweetness of this whisky makes it a little more approachable for new Whisky drinkers, but it could be a little too sweet for some folks. It is definitely a decent introduction to the Hibiki blends.
Nikka Taketsuru Pure Malt (~$70)
Image from // Nikka Whisky
Matured in sherry wood you say? Sign us up. The Taketsuru Pure Malt is a blended malt whiskey that is aged about 10 years to give it a smooth, rich, and clean mouthfeel. The whisky has just the right amount of sweetness from Sherried fruit, but not a lot of smokiness. It has a fruity richness that lingers in your mouth with a slight touch of Espresso flavor. This is one of our favorite whiskies to splurge on so far.
Suntory Hakushu 12 years old (~$85)
Image from // Suntory
Fans of smoky whisky, I think you might find Hakushu 12 years old to your liking. They call Hakushu a “green and fresh” whisky, and it is very much a spot-on description. This whisky has a pleasing aroma that is reminiscent of the forests of its birthplace. It has more of an herbal palate with just a touch of fruitiness, and it has that smoke you expect from a good whisky. The Hakushu 12 year is one of the best Japanese Whiskies you can get under $100. Be prepared to fall in love with this whisky.
Yamazaki 12 years old(~$85)
Image from // andersnoren
Yamazaki is the number 1 single malt whisky in Japan for good reason! This whisky gets a lot of its character from the use of vanilla, citrus fruits, and Mizunara oak. Yamazaki 12 year is a light bodied whisky that is comparable to a fruitier Highland whisky. It is worth a taste if you can find it near you.