Category Archives: Japanese Whisky

Spirit Review: Nikka Taketsuru 21yr


While most people equate single malt or single barrel whisky with being the cream of the crop, blended whisky is actually the most common as well as most consumed whisky in the world. And to taste some of the finest in blended malt whisky, look no further than the Japanese whisky distillers. Today were taking a look at the 21yr bottling.

The Nikka Whisky Distilling Co is one of the premier distillers in Japan and has a superb line of blended malts named after the founder Masataka Taketsuru. The Taketsuru blends come from distillates from both the Yoichi Distillery (located on the northern island of Hokkaido), and the Miyagikyo Distillery (located in the north of the main island Honshu).

Nose: Plenty of oak influence with notes of prunes, dates and apricots. Definitely some sweetness, anise,

Palate: Spices, black pepper, bitter orange, loads of tangy sherry. Gives way to some ginger, honey, and hints of marmalade.

Finish: Long, oak and spice, balanced with a hint of peat.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Spirit Review: Hakushu Heavily Peated Whisky


If the question is “What do the Japanese not do well?”, the answer is for sure not whisky. Every single malt spirit that I have tried from this country has been unique and of the utmost quality. One of the newest releases out there is the Hakushu Heavily Peated Whisky (2013 bottling), which hails from the Hakushu Distillery, located deep in the forests of the Southern Japanese Alps, where it seeks to take advantage of the clear air and cool, humid climate of Hakushu’s vast forests.

Nose: Gentle smokiness, a slight brininess mixed with pepper and sweet lemon.

Palate: An understated but bold hit of wood smoke, with a brown-sugar sweetness. Salt and pepper, sweet grain and roasted pear. Really clean and dry flavors.

Finish: Salted barley with just a really gently smoked flavor that is super subtle and expertly balanced.

Limited to just 3000 bottles, this is a whisky worth seeking out for fans of Japanese Whisky, as well as scotch lovers.

Rating: ★★★★½