About Japanese Spirits

About Japanese Spirits
Japan has become a major player in the single malt category; as some examples are considered among the finest in the world.

Quality malt whiskey in Japan was first produced in the 1920s; today there are several distilleries that craft products based on single malt Scotch. There are numerous styles from very light to those with a heavy peaty quality. The best examples are aged from 12 to 18 years in wood barrels.

The other main spirit in Japan is shochu, a beverage made from any number of ingredients, such as barley, rice, buckwheat or even carrots. Having a clear appearance, a shochu displays a wide range of aromas such as fig, fruit cake, paprika and even marinated mushrooms. Shochu has an alcoholic percentage ranging form 25% to 45% and is served neat, on the rocks or sometimes mixed with fruit juice.

Top Picks for Japan

Kirishima Shuzo Akane Kirishima Shochu
93 points
A pisco-like shochu with extroverted perfumed floral character; a great choice for cocktails and paring with spicy foods.
Kirishima Shuzo Kuro Kirishima EX Delicious Pentagon
93 points
A mouthwatering, savory shochu to compliment a wide variety of meals; try in craft cocktails too.
Tenjaku Pure Malt Japanese Whisky
91 points
$70
A shape-shifting whisky that offers a charming and delicate nose followed by a swift and assertive rush of piquant flavor on the palate.
Tenjaku Blended Japanese Whisky
91 points
$39.99
A rock solid Japanese blended whisky with nice balance; a good bridge for traditional Scotch whisky drinkers.
91 points $39.99
Hibiki Harmony Blended Japanese Whisky
91 points
$64
A delicate, understated, sherry-influenced whisky that delivers lasting complex flavor.
Kirishima Shuzo Kuro Kirishima Shochu
91 points
A rock-solid Shochu with classic, food-friendly flavors.
Kirishima Shuzo Shiro Kirishima Shochu
89 points
A delicate, starchy and food-friendly Shochu for the table.
Kirishima Shuzo Aka Kirishima Shochu
89 points
A fruity shochu with wide appeal; try in effervescent cocktails.
Kirishima Shuzo Kuro Kirishima Melt Shochu
89 points
A creamy oaked shochu that could be a very appealing after-dinner pour; try in stirred cocktails too.
Tenjaku Japanese Gin
88 points
$29
A polished, mellow, earthy gin that will excel in creamy gin cocktails.