4 Things You Need to Know About Japanese Whiskey

Ever since 2001, Japanese whiskeys have grown into one of the most popular types of whiskey in the world – and for good reason. But despite its popularity, many people still have lots of misconceptions about it that often lead to them making mistakes.

Japanese Whiskey, Japanese Drinks, Japan, Food & Beverages, Lifestyle
4 Things You Need to Know About Japanese Whiskey


If you’re interested in dabbling in Japanese whiskey and want to be prepared, there are four things that you definitely need to know before you start: 

Japanese whiskey is diverse and comes in numerous styles

People often assume that Japanese whiskeys are all similar, in the same way bourbons or scotch whiskeys are. However that is not true, and each Japanese brewery has its own distinct house style. 

Simply put, the only thing that Japanese whiskeys share in common is the fact that they are brewed in Japan. In terms of their style, they are diverse with different blends, taste profiles,                                                 and characteristics.

It doesn’t have to be drunk neat or as a Highball

The most common way of drinking whiskey in Japan is neat, on the rocks, or as a Highball. However that does not mean that Japanese whiskeys are made to be drunk in only that way. 

Frankly speaking, if you want to enjoy the true flavor of a whiskey it is best to drink it neat or by mixing it with water or soda. That being said, Japanese whiskeys can be enjoyed in artisan cocktails as well – which is evident by the number of popular cocktail institutions in the country. 

If anything the only thing that Japanese whiskeys are made for is to be accompanied by food. Pairing the right Japanese whiskey with the right food by finding their common characteristics is an art that will bring out the best in both of them. 

Don’t sweat it if you can’t find a particular whiskey

Right now Japanese whiskey is going through a supply pinch – especially for prominent brands such as Nikka and Suntory. As Japanese whiskey continues to grow more and more popular, the supply that was produced a decade or more ago is unable to cope with the current demand both locally and internationally. 

It is important that you’re aware of that, and don’t get too caught up trying to find a particular whiskey that may be impossible to find, or simply far too expensive to afford. Instead, you should look at the diverse range of other Japanese whiskeys that are out there and sample them. 

It is very different from Scotch

Originally Japanese whiskeys were modeled based on the scotch tradition, and some still use Scottish ingredients – but that doesn’t mean that it is a scotch or tastes like one. The fact of the matter is that Japanese whiskeys have gone through almost a hundred years of refinement, making them very different from what they once were. 

Today’s Japanese whiskeys are diverse, but in general, they gravitate towards refining and perfecting the whiskey – giving it a delicate, and elegant taste. That is very different from scotch that is focused on preserving the same consistent taste over the centuries. 

Hopefully, by this point you’ve cleared up some of the misconceptions or assumptions that you may have had about Japanese whiskeys. If you have, it will help you to enjoy it better without making any mistakes. 

As you’re probably aware, Japanese whiskey is currently extremely popular – and that trend is not showing any signs of changing. Due to its popularity, there is a far more the diverse selection available today than ever before – which makes it the perfect time to whet your tongue and try them out.

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