Whisky production started in Japan in 1923 at the Yamazaki distillery, founded by the father of Japanese whisky, Masataka Taketsuru. Taketsuru-san introduced the distilling techniques and skills he had acquired during his studies at Glasgow and time spent at several distilleries in Scotland (Hazelburn and Longmorn).
Japan is currently home to over 10 operating single malt distilleries, many of which have opened in the last few years. Like Scotland, Japan is home to a handful of distilleries now closed, notably Karuizawa and Hanyu. The Japanese style is varied, with blends, single malt's and grain whiskies all being produced there. From light and floral through to heavily sherry influenced, there are also peated expressions made here with varying levels of smokyness. Overall, these whiskies are elegant and refined, and at times the use of native Mizunara White Japanese Oak imparts a unique and perfumed woody aroma and taste.
The popularity and demand for Japanese whiskies has grown substantially in recent years, leading to shortages of supply worldwide.