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Do the Japanese know how to make whisky.. ?

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@JPwhiskysteve
JPwhiskysteve started a discussion

I'm interested to hear from those lovers of the whisky from Japan and their favorites. Mine ; Hibiki 17 and 21.

8 years ago

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@Bilbo161
Bilbo161 replied

@JPwhiskysteve Well, I have not ever tried a Japanese expression so am looking forward to reading these posts. I have been shying away due to cost and would like to find one to try without worrying about making a mistake.

8 years ago 0

@JPwhiskysteve

If you have not tried @Bilbo161 then I recommend trying to get a glass of Hibiki 17. However it's not cheap I guess. But worth it!

8 years ago 0

@Alexsweden
Alexsweden replied

They certainly do! However they don't seem to be too apt in managing their stock...

8 years ago 0

@JPwhiskysteve

I live here and it's mental and it's all down to a silly tv show in the morning which promoted aged whiskies and since then it's depleted the stocks not just domestically but has now affected global markets. Snapped up 4 bottles of 17 Hibiki today as I can't find it in Osaka.

8 years ago 0

@Ol_Jas
Ol_Jas replied

For me, the biggest disappointment about Japanese whisky as I've tried a little bit and read more about it, is that it's not distinctively "Japanese" for the most part. It's very much in the Scottish style. So yeah, it's good and everything, but why chase these overprice Japanese imitations of Scottish malts when the originals are (often) better and (almost always) less expensive?

Obviously I'm painting with a broad brush here.

The one thing I'd really like to try is some of that mizunara-matured stuff, which you sometimes hear described as smelling and tasting of temples. But that's even more expensive. Like stupid expensive.

8 years ago 2Who liked this?

@Bilbo161
Bilbo161 replied

@JPwhiskysteve I'm just a little late to the game here. Really wanted to try the Hibiki 12 when it was still around. Now all I see is the Harmony. What do you like besides the Hibiki?

8 years ago 0

broadwayblue replied

I have a bottle of Hibiki 12, and while I might need to give it some more attention, I can't say I love it. Now my Nikka Whisky From The Barrel, that I really enjoy!

8 years ago 0

@Spitfire
Spitfire replied

I know nothing about Japanese whisky. I have read some ot the history, so I understand why they are made in the Scottish style, but I have not tasted many of them. I have three bottles in my collection; I am planning to open them together, with some appreciative friends over. I have: Nikka Whisky from the Barrel, Nikka Pure Malt Black, and White Oak Akashi. No age statement on any of them, I don't think.

From my very limited experience, I expect Japanese whiskies to be perhaps a bit more delicate and floral than most scotch I have had, but I guess I'll have to open those bottles and find out sone evening...

8 years ago 1Who liked this?

@JPwhiskysteve

@Spitfire always helps with apreciated drinkers when whisky is in the house. I have not tried any of the ones you have but the 'from the barrel' seems popular outside Japan. Can't seems to see it here at all.

8 years ago 0

@JPwhiskysteve

@OlJas I can see what you mean. I would have to say it's all a very personal view and yes sometimes it's pricy for sure. But bloodily hell Hibiki 17 and 21 are worth it

8 years ago 0

@Alexsweden
Alexsweden replied

@JPwhiskysteve, in Sweden it is impossible to get a hold of any aged Nikka. Fortunately the ''from the barrel'' is awesome.

8 years ago 0

@JPwhiskysteve

@Alexsweden I will just have to look harder.. Possibly it could only by an export??? Any ideas?

8 years ago 0

@JPwhiskysteve

What's the max you would hand over for a good Japanese whisky? I can quite happily part with 12,000 yen these days.

8 years ago 0

@Spitfire
Spitfire replied

@JPwhiskysteve I saw some Hibiki Harmony in a local retailer today; what is that, compared to the 17?

8 years ago 0

@JPwhiskysteve

@Spitfire harmony replaced the 12 basically. It's allowed them to put anything in it. I have drank it with a 12 and I preferred the 12 as it was smoother. I like smooth whiskies personally. The 17 is just so much better and for that reason it's got a hefty price tag. I would recommend having a few glasses of the harmony and see for yourself. I actually prefer the hakushu (non year) bottle to Harmony which is the same price. I managed to find a 'Nikka- from the barrel' and I'm very interested to try it as it seems to be popular and gets air play on here.

8 years ago 0

@JPwhiskysteve

@broadwayblue I just picked up some nikka from the barrel: how does the Hibiki 12 compare in flavor and smoothness?

8 years ago 0

@JPwhiskysteve

@Alexsweden I saw nikka 17 taketsuru and a 21 today here in Japan. Even the 12 which is being fazed out I have been told.

8 years ago 0

broadwayblue replied

@JPwhiskysteve, The Hibiki 12 is light and fairly uncomplicated, but I find that I really don't enjoy the finish. I always get a bitter note that ruins the whole experience. The Nikka from the barrel is fruity with a really nice caramel finish. Despite the higher proof of the Nikka (51.4%) I find it remarkably smooth. I never feel like I have to add water, although I do usually add some.

8 years ago 0

@Robert99
Robert99 replied

I have Taketsuru 17 yo, Nikka from the Barrel and Nikka Coffey malt but my favorite is my Yoichi 10 yo. In my neck of the wood it is closed in price to Ardbeg 10. At least it was when I bought that bottle two years ago ( this is an unopened bottle, I tasted it from an other bottle).

8 years ago 0

@Frost
Frost replied

When I was in Japan last I spotted Taketsuru 17 yr for 5000,Yen (sorry, unsure how much bitcoin this buys LOL), but had to abandon all hope of bringing it home as I was already stocked to the brim of my duty allowance.

Curiously I'd spotted Mars Iwai Tradition in Sapporo, at the time unfamiliar with the distiller and passed on it in favour of some other expressions.

8 years ago 0

@ajjarrett
ajjarrett replied

@JPwhiskysteve If I may ask, where in Japan did you see it? If you saw it in Tokyo, did you see it in a a store such as, Shinanoya, or Duty free?

8 years ago 0

@ajjarrett
ajjarrett replied

To answer the question that is the title of this thread:

Yes, the Japanese do know how to make whisky. I have been to Japan, and the last time I was I was fortunate enough to go to the Hakushu Distillery. I also went to several whisky bars in Tokyo, in particular the Nikka Blender's Bar in the basement of the Nikka Headquarters.

The Japanese whiskies I have tried and enjoy the most:

Suntory: Yamazaki 12yo Hakushu 12yo Hakushu lightly heated, NAS Hakushu American white oak, NAS Hibiki 17yo, and NAS Harmony Master's Select

Chichibu 8yo

Nikka:

Taketsuru 17yo Taketsuru 21yo - (not the non-chilled filtered) Single Grain Yoichi 10, and NAS Miyagikyo 10, and NAS

I do not shy away from the NAS whiskies, as long as they fall within my price range. I was lucky to have scored a few bottles in duty free the last time I went to Tokyo. For me, a great summer, or warm spring day, dram is the Hakushu 12yo and Distiller's Reserve. I am not a huge fan of the Yamazaki Distiller's Reserve, but know a few people who really enjoy it.

I am going back to Tokyo in June, and plan to buy a few more bottles to take home. I hope to try more whiskies which are not available outside of Japan or on sale. The Nikka Blender's Bar will be the first place I go to and have their marvelous "Key Malts".

If you want to know more about that go here: japanese-whisky.com/about-whisky/discovery/…

8 years ago 1Who liked this?

@JPwhiskysteve

@ajjarrett sounds like you are a fan for sure. You might find it much harder to get your hands on what you mentioned except for YAMAZAKI and hakushu both distillers reserve and the 12's. Anything over that and you will struggle even in Dufy free I think. Like you a prefer the hakushu over the YAMAZAKI with the reserve bottle, it's just a better drop all round. If you are coming to Osaka on your trip I can show you my collection.

8 years ago 0

@JPwhiskysteve

I have just had nikka from the barrel and I was hit by the flavor first after the smoothness. It is really suprised me to be honest. I need to have to along sides a harmony to compare but I'm sure the barrel would win. Really well rounded whisky for its price! Go NIKKA!

8 years ago 0

@Alexsweden
Alexsweden replied

Yes it is very well behaved considering the high ABV. How do you like Hakushu? I have tried the 12yr old I believe and I found it very unusual.

8 years ago 0

@JPwhiskysteve

@Alexsweden I opened the a hakushu 12 and would agree it's unusual. I expected it to be much better than the reserve (non yeared). But I prefer the latter.

8 years ago 0