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Jan 9, 2007 04:21 AM

bourbon/whiskey in Japan?

When I was in Tokyo a few years ago, I went to a bar that seemed to specialize in whiskeys. I know whiskey is quite popular in Japan. Is bourbon whisky or scotch whiskey more popular, does anyone have knowledge or an opinion? Any suggestions on where I might read up on the popularity of delicious brown liquors in Japan, how and why and what? I would love to read trades, or blogs, or articles, or whatever. Thanks!

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  1. Japan has its own home-grown whiskey industry dating back to the 1920s; most of its whiskies are in the Scotch style. They make some great whiskies that rival those of Scotland, but unfortunately, they are very hard to get in the US. If you go to a good liquor store, they will probably have Suntory's Yamazaki 12 and 18 year old, which are very good. You may also be able to find Nikka Yoichi, but that's about it for the U.S.

    Whiskey Magazine, a British trade publication, has fairly frequent articles about Japanese whiskey:

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      1. Japan's home grown whisky (in roman alphabet marketing it is spelt whisky not whiskey, although in Japanese script there is no distinction) has been around since the 1920s but has developed massively in quality since the 1980s. In the same period, curiously, it has lost some of its popularity because of the surge in popularity of shochu, the indigenous spirit, but I am sure it will come back. There are now quite a number of really high quality single malt whiskies on the market, some of which have won major international blind tastings against the most prestigious Scotch whiskies. They tend to be in the Scotch style. I keep quite an extensive blog on what you are asking about: (see my profile if you are interested) and Takeshi Mogi also has an excellent site: