Japanese whisky – main features

features of japanese whisky

Japanese whisky – main features

Japan has been revealed as an increasingly influence on the whisky market. Japanese whisky is recognized as the one of the best worldwide by more and more people, having earned many awards and distinctions. But is it Japanese whisky really so different?


As you may already know from the history of Japanese whisky, many of the knowledge applied in Japanese whisky production was brought by  people that went study at Scottish institutions. As a matter of fact, one legendary name in the Japanese whisky history is Masatakata Taketsuru, that passed a year of his life traveling through several Scotland’s regions and getting to know the details of making Scotch whisky. Later, with the success of the distillery he managed, many others followed. So as you can guess, Japanese whisky resembles Scotch in some ways.


The production, the stills and the destination process is very similar between them, but here lays the main features of the Japanese whisky:

  • The barely generally used for Japanese whiskies come from Scotland;
  • Most blends produced in japan use 15% of scotch whiskies;
  • The Japanese whisky is usually distilled twice, as the Scotch whisky;
  • The climate in Japan is more similar to the Kentucky and Tenessee than Scotland or Ireland, which means that the extremes of temperature that Japanese whisky goes through during maturation are larger;
  • This makes those types of whisky taste more woody as a result (in Scotland and Ireland the whisky matures faster);
  • The blends produced in japan consist of a maximum of whisky of only 2 distilleries, since the Japanese whisky distilleries do not share their stocks of whisky when producing a blend;
  • Japanese whisky distilleries love innovation, so they can achieve a wider range of different flavours – they have different shaped stills, different types of yeast for fermentation and make several experiences with cask maturation.


As you can see there are some similarities to Scotch (especially in the methods used), but naturally being used elements and materials of two lands so different and distant, results in whiskies with different features.


Do you have a favourite japanese whisky? Share in comments.

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