View Full Version : Japanese whisky

31st May 2003, 09:11
I have only had japanese whisky once in my life. It was quite good and came in a twisted bottle. Do any of you know the brand of this whisky and if there are any other good labels?

Earl Hartman
3rd June 2003, 22:37
I had some Yamazaki, one of Japan's two single malts. It was pretty good, and, in typical Japanese style, had no screaming distinctiveness like, say, Laphroiagh (sp?). Standard Japanese whisky like Suntory is somewhat sweet in comparison to Scottish whisky, it seems to me.

Neil Yamamoto
4th June 2003, 20:20
Well, since I am slacking off at work. No idea on the whisky Jakob tried though.

Single malts from Japan but are pretty hard to find. I got lucky, a friend was in Japan, I had given him the money up front for the stuff so he sent me some.

The Yamazaki that Earl mentioned is good stuff. I actually like the 12 year old better than the 18 year old though. Suntory also makes a single malt under the Hakushu name -the name of one of their two distilleries, Yamazaki being the other- but I've not tried it or even seen it available anywhere.

Keep in mind the Japanese idea on whisky is different than that of the Scots. Japanese whisky is meant to be enjoyed as part of the dining experience, not just to be sipped alone or as an apertif or digestif.

The Japanese idea is whisky is usually meant to be watered down and this is said to clarify the flavors and make it idea for accompanying Japanese cusine. This idea of drinking whisky with lots of water and/or ice called "Mizuwari", took root.

Suntory really is responsible for the growth in this idea even though it was unintentional. Torii, the Suntory company founder, took the Scots distillation methods and sought to develop a whisky that reflected the Japanese tastes in cusine. Suntory's style of whisky reflects this idea in their blends and to a lesser degree in the single malts.

Different culture, different ideas. Michael Jackson the Booze reviewer, compared Scotch Whiskey distillation goals to a Beethoven orchestral, while Japanese whisky was more akin to a string quartet.

Nikka also turns out a single malt, Yoichi. It's more in line with the Scots idea of what a scotch should be. Not surprising since the founder, Masataka Taketsuru studied in Scotland at the University of Glasgow and apprenticed at Hazelburn distillery in Campbeltown.

Yoichi is a single barrel at cask strength, the way most master distilers think whisky truly shows it's qualities. Sweet salty peat aroma, very distinctive in flavor, peaty but still sweet/spicy with a long powerful finish.

Sanraku Ocean also produces as single, Karuizawa. It's available as a 12 and 15 year old. I've had the 12, expensive as heck. Light, slightly sweet, floral aroma and some light smoke. Nothing extraordinary about it, but a pleasant whisky.

And, that's all I know, my brain is emptied.

Earl Hartman
4th June 2003, 21:33
If you want a smooth, innoffensive, neutral, and slightly sweet drink to accompany your dinner, a muzu-wari with Japanese whisky is quite pleasant. Nothing distinctive about it, but it goes down easy and is good with a dash of conviviality.

But, like Neil said, that's what it's for. If that's what they were after, they did a bang-up job of it.

4th June 2003, 21:43
Thank you for the replies! :)
I do not remember that I had to water down my japanese whisky (I do hear that this is what they do in Scotland, though). It tasted great anyway, and I am the one who prefer thoose "weakened" blended brands from the emerald isle. I remember the name of that whisky now (perhaps due to some beer) and it was "Suntory Twist" and came in a twisted bottle with a nice red label. :p