Last October, we gave you the background of Japanese whisky, but recently whisky aficionados have begun to realize that the Japanese whisky is just as good, if not better than Scottish. (The Japanese even drop the “e” in “whisk(e)y” like the Scottish do.) In expert blind taste tests in Whisky Magazine, Yamazaki and Yoichi whisky’s scored higher than their Scottish counterparts – again.
It’s generally easier to find Japanese whisky in Europe, but it’s making its way over to the US. Two of the largest Japanese whisky makers both say they are planning to expand their presence in America.

What makes Japanese whisky different?

• It’s delicate and complex and doesn’t have a strong taste
• It is made to pair with food
• Generally its lower proof (around 86)
• Very experimental – lengthened fermentation and filtering through charred bamboo is played with
• Very fresh, pure water is used to make Japanese whisky

Japanese whisky is not cheap, so you won’t be ordering shots of it at the bar. Yamazaki Single Malt 18 Year Old runs about $250 (ouch), while Hibiki 12 Year Old is slightly more affordable at around $60.

Whisky lovers, we want to hear from you. Have you compared Japanese whisky to Scottish; if so, what do you think?