These major brands who are making history with Japanese whisky

20 Jan 2017 in Food Culture

See further than Scotland and Ireland, the new land of whisky is definitely Japan!

japanese-whisky-glass

For a long time it was Irish and Scottish whiskies that set the benchmark, but these days Japanese whiskies are considered to be among the best in the world.

Japanese whiski glass

Japan is the fourth largest producer despite having only 11 distilleries, but they all have the ability to produce several very different whiskies. However, the Japanese reputation for whiskies is chiefly owed to two large producers: Suntory and Nikka.

The founders

The history of Japanese whisky dates back to the early 20th century. It is said that it was started by two men. Shinjiro Torii was the pioneer, in 1923, establishing Japan’s first distillery in Yamazaki, on the outskirts of Kyoto. However, his first whisky, produced in 1929, failed because it was not suiting the taste of the Japanese.

Masataka Taketsuru took a different route, opting to travel to Scotland to learn the secrets whisky-making. He returned two years later, but it was not until 1934 that he established Nikka Whisky, in Yoichi, in Shiribeshi Subprefecture (Hokkaido). This place was chosen because Masataka Taketsuru judged it to be similar to Scottish soil, and therefore perfect for whisky production.

Development

In 1937 the rest of the world discovered Japanese whisky with the launch of Kakubin, a whisky made by the Suntory company, which became leader in sales mostly because of its unique squared shaped bottle. Since that time Suntory has carried on creating new whiskies such as the Yamazaki single malt, the blended Hibiki, and more recently its Hakushu single malt. You can discover all these marvelous beverage served for you with passion and expertise at the bar of HOSHINOYA Kyoto.

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