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Japanese Whisky

Japan’s whisky industry is about to celebrate its centennial. Yet it is only in the last twenty years that it has garnered international attention.

In 2001, Whisky Magazine honored Nikka’s 10-Year Yoichi as its “Best of the Best.” Then in 2015, Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible crowned Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2013 as the world’s best whisky.

And Japanese whisky continues to distinguish itself in world competitions. In 2018, the World Whiskies Awards named Nikka’s Taketsuru Pure Malt 17-Year the “World’s Best Blended Malt,” and selected Suntory’s Hakushu 25-Year-Old as the “World’s Best Single Malt.”

However, that’s not to say that Japanese whisky is without its fair share of critics. One point of contention is that few laws regulate the Japanese whisky industry. There is not even a legal definition of what constitutes whisky in Japan. Therefore, the Japanese are free to add ingredients or alter production methods and still promote their products as whisky as long they are distilled from a grain mash.

The second bone of contention is that Japan imports a significant amount of whiskey used in its blends from the UK and America. Since they are not required to state the percentage of imported whisky used in the blend, it is difficult to discern what effect their domestic whisky is contributing to the whisky’s character and taste. However, as foreign distiller’s reserves dwindle, some critics foresee a potential decline in the quality of Japanese whisky.

But what distinguishes Japanese whisky the most is the way it’s intended to be enjoyed. First of all, the Japanese rarely sip their whisky alone; they prefer to drink whisky with their meal. Second, the Japanese consume the majority of their blended whisky in cocktails or, if neat, they prefer cold, poured over ice spheres.

Please join us as we delve into Japanese whisky.


6:00 – 6:30 –   Registration and Appetizers

6:30 – 7:30 –   Profile of Japanese Whisky

7:30 – 8:30 – Whiskey Tasting

Suntory Whisky Toki
Nikka Coffey Malt
Yamazaki 12
Hakushu 18

8:30 – 9:00 – Dessert & Socialization


Space is limited to 15 whiskey enthusiasts, so please reserve a space as soon as possible.