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Japanese Whisky

Whisky has been produced in Japan since the late 19th century but the first proper commercial scale distilling commenced with the founding of the country’s oldest distillery: Yamazaki in 1924. Shinjiro Torii was keen to create and market Japanese whisky for Japanese drinkers so he set about establishing Yamazaki distillery. He hired Masataka Taketsuru who had been a student of whisky in Scotland in the early 1920s to make the whisky. Masataka left Yamazaki soon after to found his own company and distillery which would become Yoichi. With that the fledgling Japanese whisky industry was born. The whiskies produced are very similar in style to Scottish whisky, being largely based upon Masataka’s experiences at Scottish distilleries such as Springbank. To this day the malts of Yamazaki and Yoichi are considered to be still quite close in character to some of these older style Scottish malts and are held in great renown around the world. Other distilleries such as Miyagikyo, Hanyu, Karuizawa and Hakushu would follow in years and decades ahead and these too have garnered great praise from whisky lovers around the world. Indeed closed Japanese distilleries such as Hanyu and - particularly - Karuizawa have become cult names which commany significant prices at auction. The appetite for Japanese whisky has become huge in recent years and shows no sign of slowing down.


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