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Pro tips for enjoying your Japanese whisky

Japanese whisky
(© buritora – stock.adobe.com)

What a difference a decade can make!!! Just ten years ago, if anyone had told the Japanese whisky distillers that their industry would become one of the market leaders around the globe in the next few years, I’m pretty sure they would have laughed at such claims. Fast-forward to this decade, and such a claim seems to be one of the truest statements around. Such is the explosive rise of these aged spirits.

According to Naoki Tomoyoshi, not even a single soul anticipated the kind of growth and the level of global acceptance being enjoyed by Japanese whiskies. “Back in 2006, few people were buying, or even talking about Japanese whiskies,” he claimed. Consequently, that lack of foresight means that stocks are low, and the hunt for Japanese whisky is on.

So, getting your hands on one of these spirits can actually be a daunting task. But for the lucky ones who are able to get their hands on it, trust me, you’ll find the following tips to be more than helpful in savoring your Japanese whisky. By the way, Japanese call it “whisky’ and not “whiskey,” so for the purpose of this post, we’ll be sticking with the Japanese term here. So, sit tight, enjoy the post, and be ready to savor your find.

Search for subtle flavors and aromas

If there was one thing a Japanese whisky bottle has in common with its Scotch cousins, that would be its degree of variation. But unlike Scotch, Japanese whisky does tend more toward subtler nuances in flavor. So when you’re conducting your search, be sure to search for the pulled-back, lovely whiff of peat smoke in a Yoichi single malt, a quieter version of the peated whiskies from Scotland’s Islay, for example.

Learn to appreciate the flavor you have in your hands today

If you’re at a bar someday and you have a Japanese looking in your direction and saying to you “Kaisen,” just know that he’s telling you to enjoy well the whisky you have in front of you today, because, by tomorrow, it may evolve into something exquisitely different. It is well established that Japanese whisky producers often tweak their whisky-making by carefully analyzing the effectiveness of distillation, fermentation, and maturation regularly. If efficiencies or an improved flavor-change can be achieved at some points, a Japanese producer has no problem adapting.

Never undermine the beauty of blended Japanese whisky

If you think that only single malt Japanese whiskies are worthy of a spot on your liquor shelf, then you really have no idea what you’ve been missing out on. For several decades now, Japanese whisky producers have mastered the art of whisky blending, experimenting with a countless combination of aged whiskies. So, if you really haven’t tried a blended Japanese whisky before, now may be time. Like a drop of rose into a fine perfume, the smallest amount of whisky aged distilled with peated barley could dramatically change the whole aura around a whisky batch.

Ice is king

You will never be able to completely savor the taste and flavor of your Japanese whisky without a perfectly carved ice cubes. In the world of whisky drinking, high-quality ice is highly revered and considered to be the most important piece in your whisky jigsaw. Using distilled water, you can try molding your perfectly-sized ice cubes in a freezer, but be sure to freeze large spheres of ice because large cubes are known to dilute slowly into the whisky over time.

Go for highball

Merely looking at it from the outside, a traditional Japanese highball appears to be nothing more than soda water and whisky on ice. But when you get a highly-skilled bartender meticulously making you a highball, you won’t want to try anything else. The meticulousness of the mix elevates the drink to a new form of exquisiteness.

Japanese whiskies select glassware

This is one very significant area where a Japanese whisky differs from other conventional whiskies. You don’t just pick a glass to gulp your Japanese whisky; instead, you’re expected to honor the drink with the appropriate glassware and garnish. Some of the most elegant shapes and materials for highballs, both old fashioned and other cocktail glasses are produced in Japan, so it makes perfect sense drinking Japanese whiskies with any of these sorts of glassware.

Uday Tank has been working with writing challenged clients for several years. His educational background in family science and journalism has given him a broad base from which to approach many topics. He especially enjoys writing content after researching and analyzing different resources whether they are books, articles or online stuff. 


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