[Sponsored Content] Japan was introduced to scotch whisky in the late 19th century, when sailors and traders shipped the spirit into coastal port towns – but it wasn’t until decades later that commercial production of whisky really took off. Two men are credited with kickstarting Japan’s love affair with whisky: Shinjiro Torii and Masataka Taketsuru established the historic Yamazaki distillery together in 1924
Japanese whisky, to me, is all about art and subtlety. It’s aromatic, floral, subtle, and complex. … Japanese drinks giant Suntory has blended “selected” barrels from Hakushu and Yamazaki distilleries (both malts), and Chita distillery (heavy-type grain whisky). Unlike previous Suntory blends, this one relies on Hakushu as primary malt, not Yamazaki.
Peaty, with the same notes as the more seaweed-flecked Islay malts like Laphroaig but without the same intensity. The 10 year is aged in ex-bourbon casks (and allegedly spends some small amount of time in Mizunara casks) and is bottled at 45% ABV.
I get a ton of delectable fruits (most of which are tart, my favorite kind of fruit notes in whisky), excellent balance of wood and malt sweetness, and a proof that’s just the right amount of intensity straight-up, but can also handle some water. Nice stuff, even with the dominant banana notes.
Hibiki 12 is a widely-acclaimed blend of 12 year-old (or greater) Japanese whisky from global giant Suntory. It includes malts from Yamazaki and Hakushu and grain from Chita distillery. The components are aged in a variety of casks including ex-bourbon, ex-sherry, and casks that once held Umeshu, a plum liqueur.
…Plenty of people like those banana notes and don’t mind some bitterness in the finish. To them I would say “Branch out! Try some malt from a whole ‘nother country!”… To the rest of us, I say skip it and start your Japanese whisky journey on something else.