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.
Hibiki 'Japanese Harmony' 43%
The word 'Hibiki' means 'resonance' in Japanese. This whisky, housed in a 24 faceted bottle, is supposed to represent the 24 seasons of the Japanese calender. On the nose: tropical fruitiness with floral undertones and a delicate woodspice. On the palate: honeyed sweetness, with a candied citrus edge.
Mars Iwai 'Tradition' 40%
Aged in a combination of ex Bourbon and ex Sherry Casks, as well as some fresh Mizunara casks, which give this whisky from the Mars Shinshu distillery a rich and full bodied quality. There are flavours of sweet honey and toasty malt initially with burnt sugar notes and even touches of orange marmalade. The finish is warming with a lingering ciga...
Mars Iwai 'Tradition' Wine Cask Finish 40%
This blended whisky from Mars Distillery has been bottled at 40%. This special release has been finished in Chateau Mars Casks from the Mars Yamanashi Winery after being matured in a mix of Sherry, Bourbon and American White Oak casks. The nose has notes of orange peel, chocolate and floral and fruity notes. On the palate there are notes of vani...
Mars Iwai Japanese Whisky 40%
This blended whisky form Mars Shinshu Distillery has been aged in a combination of Bourbon, Sherry and American white oak casks. This whisky is soft and gentle, with notes sweet pear and dark cacao. The palate offers up notes of dried fig, ginger cookies and honey milk.
Nikka 'Miyagikyo' 45%
Nestled in the mountains of Sendai, Miyagikyo distillery is a softer, less peaty style in comparison to its sister distillery, Yoichi. This single malt is full of floral fruitiness balanced by a rich sherry cask influence. A great introduction to the distillery. Please note: Due to limited availability, this is strictly limited to one bottle pe...
Nikka 'Yoichi' 45%
Established in 1934, the Yoichi distillery's coastal location on the northern island of Hokkaido was chosen by Masataka Taketsuru due to the climate there more closely resembling that of Scotland than any other area in Japan. Taketusuru studied for many years in Scotland and brought his knowledge back to Japan, even featuring the likes of tradit...
Nikka Coffey Grain 45%
Named after the inventor of the distillation method, Aneas Coffey (pronounced kofee), this whisky is the product solely from the Coffey stills at the Miyagikyo distillery. Exotic and fruity on the nose with an abundance of tropical fruit, there are touches of vanilla pod and honey on the rich and mouthcoating palate. This is the first time we've...
Nikka Coffey Malt 45%
Distilled at the Miyagikyo distillery in the 'Coffey' (pronounced co-fee) stills which produce a light, clean and soft spirit. Distilled entirely from malted barley, this is a sweet and fruity dram with notes of banana and a rich aroma of fresh home made vanilla ice-cream. The finish is short and subtly spiced (white pepper) and drying. A fantas...
Nikka From The Barrel Blended Whisky 51.4% 500ml
Mature malt and grain whiskies from Nikka's various distilleries have been blended and then re-casked together for a period to allow the whiskies to further integrate and develop. Notes of pineapple, wood varnish and a strong oak influence from the Japanese white oak casks. Bottled at a cask strength of 51.4% - a sensational example of the Japan...
Nikka Taketsuru 'Pure Malt' 43%
Carefully blended whiskies from the Yoichi and Miyagikyo distilleries make up this Taketsuru, and carries the distinctive oaky hallmark of Japanese malt whiskies. The nose is fresh and lively, with a soft fruityness from the use of sherry casks, which is joined with a touch of nuts and gentle smoke in the background. A perfectly balanced dram an...
Suntory Kakubin 40%
Launched in 1937, Kakubin (meaning square bottle) has since become the blended whisky of choice over the years in Japan. It is now the number 1 whisky brand there. Malt whiskies from Yamazaki and Hakushu, as well as some grain, are blended together and then aged in wine and sherry barrels. It has a sweet, creamy smooth character with a soft fi...
The Nikka 12 years old 43%
A combination of both Miyagikyo and Yoichi distilleries, this bottle represents the tradition of the distilleries, displaying the golden emblem designed by the founder, Masataka Taketsuru, for his first ever bottling. A rich and malty whisky with an abundance of orchard fruits on the palate is balanced by a soft sweet toffee note and lingering s...