Which are the 3 best Japonese Whiskies in 2020?
How to select among the best Japanese whiskies?
Japanese whisky is one of the most popular drinks in the world, consumed from America to Asia. Although the origin of whisky is European, it is produced almost worldwide.
One of the production sites that is becoming very famous, due both to its quality and its flavour, is Japan.
Japanese whisky has begun to gain reputation over the years, many would think it is an imitation of Scotch whisky, the resemblance is undeniable; but it is really a whisky with personality and own style.
More than 100 years ago the whisky production began in Japan. Although at the beginning it was produced by hand, today making processes have changed a lot.
There are several distilleries, whiskies of all types are produced; though using peat smoke in drying is very common.
One of the processes that characterizes Japanese distilleries is the use of bamboo to filter whisky.
Here is a selection of the best Japanese whiskies of the moment.
Suntory & Toky
|Type of whisky||Blended Whisky||Blended Whisky||Blended Whisky|
|Smell and taste||Strawberry and cherry |
|Sweet with honey flavour |
and a bitter touch
and fruit flavour
|Summary||Recommended to drink |
it in a long glass with ice
or as a whisky-based cocktails
|Recommended to drink it |
in a long glass with ice,
or even for whiskey-based cocktails
|It is recommended for
those who love
What are the best Japanese whiskies in value for money?
It has no age statement. This whisky is aged in Japanese oak barrels called Mizunara; It is finished in casks that contain wine, providing softness and sweetness.
The Yamazaki has a bright golden colour; on the nose you can feel aromas of strawberries and cherries; in the palate it gives notes of raspberry, peach and a touch of coconut.
Finally, it leaves a very clean sweet vanilla flavour with a touch of cinnamon.
This whisky stands out for its quality; it is refined and very subtle.
It is appreciated by those who like sweet flavours in a whisky.
You can drink it pure or with a little ice to help the flavours to manifest in layers.
It is recommended to drink it in a long glass with ice or as a cocktail base with whisky, due to its pleasant aroma.
- It is a young whisky with no age statement, but very good.
- Some claim it is very soft.
It is a highly balanced Japanese whisky, Hibiki, meaning resonance in Japanese, gives rise to a whole line of whiskies. It was created mixing three different distilleries whiskies.
Hibiki has been matured in 5 types of barrels, including American oak, Mizunara and Sherry barrels.
This whisky has no age statement, is amber; scented with roses, wood and sandalwood.
On the palate, is very sweet, with honey flavour and a bitter touch. Some palates perceive white chocolate flavour.
In the end is subtle, leaving a woody taste. It stands out for its sweetness; you can reduce it a little by serving it in a short glass with little ice or with a little mineral water, which helps to discover new aromas.
Its main weak point is that there are some who consider it a normal whisky and is too expensive to be a blended without a declaration of age.
Recommended to drink in a long glass with ice, or even for whiskey-based cocktails.
- Very nice sweet taste.
- Expensive whiskey.
Its name comes from the word Toki, which means time, this Japanese whisky is a mixture from three distillery productions. It is mainly composed of a single malt from Hakaushu and a whisky from Chita grain.
It is a young whisky that has no age statement, with a light yellowish colour, a scent of mint, honey, fruits and a touch of new leather.
On the palate flavours such as grapefruit, green grapes, mint and thyme are appreciated.
At the end it has a sweet and spicy touch; it leaves a vanilla flavour mixed with black pepper and ginger.
It stands out for its softness, the taste is very balanced, and it also has an incredibly pleasant aroma.
We recommend it for those who love soft whiskies, due to its rich flavour and aroma, it combines very well with cocktails.
You will be surprised with the range of cocktail possibilities you might prepare.
- The subtle touch of Japanese whiskies is definitely noticeable.
- Soft and fruity.
- It is not smoked.
- Its fruity taste disappears very fast.
Mini-guide to buy the best Japanese Whiskies
If you are a whisky fan and want to jump further and try something new, you definitely have to try Japanese whisky.
Choosing a Japanese whisky can be a bit problematic if we have never tried any before. Since we are more used to buy Scotch, Irish or even American whiskies, we may not have a reference framework or a taste is our mind.
To select a whisky there are characteristics of uniqueness that we must take into account:
- Type of whisky
- Age statement
- Flavour and smell
In this case we already know the origin, then we can focus on the most important brands of Japanese whisky.
There are currently several distilleries that produce all types of whiskies, the best known are Yamazaki, Hakushu, Yoichi, Senday / Miyagikyo, Fuji-Gotemba, Karuizawa and Hanyu, among others.
Keep in mind that, although Japan produces very good single malt, the most consumed among the Japanese is blended whiskey.
What you should keep in mind about the best Japanese Whiskeys?
- Japanese whiskey may end up liking you more than Scotch.
- They can be expensive, if you want to try something new, start with those who have no age statement. They are usually cheaper and very good.
Disadvantages of buying Japanese Whisky
- You may find it expensive.
- Japanese whisky tends to be softer than Scotch.
- You can get very small presentations.
Advantages of buying Japanese Whisky
- You venture to try new flavours.
- The quality of Japanese whisky is unique, for its production they use water sources of the highest purity.
- The distilleries are among the best in the world, allowing fermentation to take place at a lower temperature, preserving the more varied aromas.
- Great variety.