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Why is Japanese Whisky so Hard to Find?

Published : 14/03/2020 16:11:17

Why is Japanese Whisky so Hard to Find?

Why is Japanese Whisky so Hard to Find?

It’s not a secret anymore, Japanese whisky is amongst the best spirits on the planet. Awards and accolades decorate Japanese distilleries year in and year out, and their malts often over-score the most prestigious Scottish brands.

How did the Asian country make it to the top in less than a century? The first quality-minded distillery, Yamazaki, was founded in 1924, but we didn’t realize something big was going on until 2001, when Nikka’s Yoichi 10 years Single Malt won the dominant spot in the Whisky Magazine Awards.  

At that point, amateurs and seasoned professionals around the world went crazy for the Japanese malts, and the rest is history.

So, what makes Japanese Whiskies different?

In Scotland, 120 distilleries work together as a community with a single aim, to make delectable spirits that strengthen a single umbrella brand: Scotch.

Scotch distilleries will often share their spirits and blend them to create the whiskies we know today as Blended Scotch. And while the most coveted bottles are single malt whiskies, made in a single distillery, like The Macallan or Laphroaig, many prestigious Scotch Whiskies fall in the blended category, like Johnnie Walker’s Blue Label.

The Japanese whisky scene is much different. Few distilleries make authentic whisky in Japan, from which two have major significance: Nikka and Suntory. Although there’s a camaraderie between the two companies, they don’t share either malts or secrets.

Japanese competitiveness and strong values for quality have made each whisky in the market, a unique beverage that strives for perfection; and often achieves it.

How to Find the Best Japanese Whiskies?

Japan is four times larger than Scotland, but the rugged terrain and rough climatic conditions cause limited whisky productions, and with high demand, there’s not enough to go around.  

Whisky takes time, and you can’t rush it. All of this add up to finding a bottle incredibly hard, even of the most commercial ones. Import regulations and taxes add up, making the finer spirits almost unattainable. 

There’s good news; dedicated retailers like put together a compilation of the finest Japanese Whiskies and ships them to every corner on earth at a reasonable price. 11 Malts has become one of the most reliable and trusted online retailers for Japanese Whiskies.

Limited editions like the famous Hibiki 21 Mt Fuji, or the Akashi White Oak 5 Years, aged in Limousin Oak, are available. A curated selection of discontinued labels is on sale too and include collectors’ items like Hibiki 12 and Hakushu 25. Together with masterpieces like Yoichi 1980s and Hibiki 17 Double Gold, this is Japanese whisky heaven. 

If you don’t know where to start, and you want to learn more about the astounding Japanese whiskies, order a tasting set, sold by the dram. Taste side by side four different Hibiki Whiskies, from Harmony to Hibiki 21 years, or enjoy Nikka’s collection trying from Nikka 12 years to the exciting Taketsuru 21 years.

Sharing is Caring

Japanese whisky is not only immensely popular; its quality and the enjoyment it brings lives up to the hype. Japanese malts are now up there with the best brown spirits on earth, and it’s a great moment to get to know them. 

Start your collection or buy a few bottles to share with your friends and family. Japanese whisky might be coveted, but its original purpose remains unchanged: to give pleasure and a moment of contemplation to you and your loved ones.

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