Far from the glens of Scotland, it is hard to believe that Japan pioneers whisky. But indeed it does. Much to the surprise of many people, Japan is the world’s 3rd largest producer of whisky after Scotland & America. The tremendous success can be attributed to the vision and perseverance of a single man and his diligent student.
Yamazaki’s founder, Shinjiro Torri, sent his finest student, Masetsaka Taketsuru to Scotland on a 3 year assignment to learn the art of whisky making. When he returned he built Yamazaki and later went on to form Yoichi. This was back in 1920s.
Today as it stands, Japan whisky industry is strong with 8 powerful distilleries.
Following are the noteworthy aspects which define their whiskies:
- Double Distillation.
- Barley is imported largely from Scotland. Some barley is also imported from Australia.
- Just like the Scotland whiskies, their pots have varying shapes to yield a differentiation in the resultant character of their whiskies.
- American/ Bourbon oak is imported from both Scotland and America & Sherry oak from Spain. They also use Japanese oak called Mizunara Oak.
- Warm climatic conditions, unlike the weather of Scotland and Ireland, hasten the process of maturation.