Our Japanese Whisky Edition explores a selection of excellent drams from Japan - a country renowned for its high quality releases, some of which are increasingly hard to get your hands on!
If you're a die-hard Scotch fan who has hesitated to dip their toe into Japanese whisky, this box is guaranteed to get you off to a good start...
Check out the line-up below.
Japanese Whisky Edition: A tour of whiskies from Japan
Founded in 1985 and mothballed not long after in 1992 because of tax reforms (boo!), the Mars Shinshu distillery reopened in 2011 and so is a relative newcomer. Kasei is actually an English approximation of the Japanese word for Mars, which is also reflected in the eye-catching planetary image on the packaging. This expression is a blend of both malt and grain whiskies from a variety of barrels.
An intense and rich profile with white flowers and ripe fruit on the nose. Warm, honey notes with green apple and white grape on the palate. A citrus and vanilla finish.
Nikka Whisky, From The Barrel
An absolutely iconic Japanese whisky, and a well-established "gateway whisky" for Scotch lovers, this is a near-cask strength blend of malt and grain spirit from Nikka's Miyagikyo and Yoichi distilleries. In its brick-inspired blockish bottle, it both packs a seriously robust flavour-punch and punches well above its price category. Practically guaranteed to end up on your shelf!
Rich and fruity, with some peppery spice to liven things up. Delicate orange fruitiness with some creaminess from the oak. Big flavours on the palate; clove and cinnamon, malted honey and clean citrus. Water softens, bringing out clean fruitiness and reducing the toasty spice. At full strength, this lasts a very long time, with the fruit and spice outlasting the oak.
Nikka Whisky, Taketsuru Pure Malt
"Pure malt" is synonymous to blended malt in Scotch lingo, being a mix only of Nikka's malt whiskies, with no grain component. The main influence is the softer malts from Miyagikyo, with smoky richness from the Yoichi portion. Aged in ex-Sherry casks and American oak, it's remarkably complex.
Butterscotch and vanilla toffee lead on the nose, with crunchy barley sugar notes developing. Toffee apples, peach and spiced bread notes build, with beeswax and light honey notes following. Candied lemon and orange peel hide at the back. Honey-drizzled brown bread and freshly sliced apples lead on the palate, turning darker as treacle toffee and raisins build. The freshness continues as darker notes develop, with pears and lemon peel on top and singed fruit cake underneath. Vanilla-sugar-dusted apple slices and toffee slowly fade to reveal cinnamon toast and apple peel.
Nikka Whisky, Single Malt Miyagikyo
In this single malt bottling from Nikka, we get to experience the wonderful fruity delicacy that is the Miyagikyo distillery's signature style. While there isn't an age on the bottle, the majority of the whisky is at least 10 years old.
As expected, soft and sweet, with fruit and floral notes on the nose. Elegant aromas of fresh flowers, soft fruit and some candied orange peel. Slightly richer on the palate, with toasty, roasted nuts and ripe fruits. There’s some darker, more complex notes too, in the form of chocolate, along with candied fruit and some honey. The fruity, floral notes dominate on the finish, ably supported by a touch of toasty oak and spice. Very well balanced and approachable.
Suntory Whisky, Toki
Toki means "time" in Japanese, and this bottling aims to bring together the old and new from Suntory, featuring whisky from all three of their distilleries: Yamazaki (dating back to 1923), Hakushu and Chita (both established in 1972). The majority of the liquid is Hakushu malt and sweet Chita grain. Dangerously drinkable, widely available and excellently priced - this is definitely a dram worth knowing about.
Basil, green apple, and honey on the nose. Grapefruit, green grapes, peppermint, thyme on the palate. Subtly sweet and spicy finish with a hint of vanilla oak, white pepper and ginger.
The Yamazaki, Aged 12 Years
A single malt from Suntory's Yamazaki distillery, this wildly popular age statement release is now very hard to get your hands on and very expensive. With reserves of well-aged Japanese whiskies running very low in recent years, this 12 year old now sells for as much as three times the price it did 10 years ago. We had to call in a few favours and sell a spare organ or two, but we managed to get our hands on enough bottles to give our Dram Teamers a rare chance to taste this historic and iconic whisky. Enjoy!
On the nose: peach, pineapple, grapefruit, clove, candied orange, vanilla, Mizunara (Japanese oak). Coconut, cranberry, and butter on the palate. Sweet ginger, cinnamon, long finish.
How to get your Japanese Whisky box
Whether you're a die-hard Scotch fan who has hesitated to dip their toe into Japanese whisky, or already a big fan of Japanese / World whiskies, you're guaranteed to enjoy this box... You can grab your Japanese Whisky Edition box here.
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