Far too often I’ve seen people rolling their eyes and scoffing at the mere mention of Japanese whisky.
“Not in my glass,” they’ll say. “I only drink real malt whisky.”
Well, if you’re like me – the above statement made you roll your eyes and scoff yourself, then you’ll totally understand why I was delighted to read, and chose to Digg this article by Jack Bettridge over at Cigar Aficionado – educating whisky lovers about the amazing products available from this fantastic whisky region.
If you can’t already tell – I’m a great believer in Japanese whisky.
So it was fantastic to learn what I did, and I wanted to share that to help spread the good word about Japanese whisky. Because even for a novice peat freak there’s enough in Bettridge’s piece to school anyone on the basics about the early history of Japanese whisky, starting of course with most people’s gateway to Japanese whisky -Suntory’s The Yamazaki.
Nikka seems to be leading the charge recently in representing Japanese whisky to the Western world as perceptions concerning Japanese whisky shift.
Currently, there’s currently quite a few great Nikka products up here in Vancouver in case you’re on the whisky hunt – including: Nikka ‘From the Barrel’, Pure Malt White and Pure Malt Black, the Nikka Super and the 17 year Taketsuru. But if you’re not sure how well it has gone over, Nikka’s awards page might be a worth a glance.
And now their Northern distillery Yoichi has started to up the bar another couple levels with several products that have knocked my socks off – namely their 10 and 15 year single malts.
But my recent love – (yes love) is the three year (yes three year) offering from the Chichibu distillery named Ichiro’s Malt – ‘The Peated.’
Smoky chocolate, vanilla and sweet earthy peat. It’s absolutely astounding at the young age of three, and could easily outshine whiskies some five times its age without breaking a sweat. (Send me a bottle someone – please!)
If you’re starting to get a little interested in the details about some Japanese distileries, Whisky Magazine’s Japanese website has thankfully they’ve provided us equal opportunity whisky lovers with a great English resource page on their site, mapping out all the Japanese distilleries with some great tidbits about each of them. All that makes it a great place to meet and greet with a couple great Japanese distilleries.
But my favourite piece about Japanese whisky still has to be this one from Spirit of Speyside that tells the tale of Duncan Elphick .
He’s running the Highlander Inn in the heart of what’s pretty much Downtown, Whiskytown, Scotland – and has the largest collection of Japanese whiskies outside Southeast Asia alongside 400 or so Scottish Malts. Whether or not it started as a way to position his collection uniquely in such a busy whisky hub – it seems to have become a passion for him.
He says “If anyone questions it, I remind them that a Japanese single malt -Yamazaki 25- year- old – has been voted the best single malt in the world for the past four years running.”
So my question to you is have you tried Japanese whiskies yet? If so – share a little about your faves and your experiences with Japanese whisky.
And if you think they’re great – show your support here by discussing how you feel about the perception that Japanese whisky is inferior whisky.