Suntory Owes Its Success To Soldiers
World War II ignited a thirst for whisky in both Japanese and American soldiers. In Japan, sales of whisky rose each year during the war making wartime one of the most profitable years in history for Japanese whisky brands like Suntory and Nikka. The nations demand for whisky continued to grow in postwar years and for decades to come, causing the spirit to become the most consumed alcohol category in Japan at the time. This is due in part to high levels of consumption by occupying American soldiers, who preferred Japanese beer and whisky to sake.
Suntory Produces Four Whiskies At Three Distilleries
Theres more than just one Suntory whisky. The brand makes four different whisky varieties: Yamazaki and Hakushu both aged single malts as well as Hibiki and Suntory Whisky Toki, the brands blended offerings. These whiskies are produced across Japan at the brands Yamazaki, Hakushu, and Chita distilleries.
Best Sherry Cask: Ohishi 8 Year Old
“From the Kumamoto prefecture in Japan, this rice whisky has the wow factor, says Brooks. While rice is not commonly used in American whiskey, there are several Japanese brands that use this grain in the mash bill. On the nose, you get aromas of sherry oak, roasted nuts, dried fruits, mushrooms and spice. The taste is absolutely amazing, flavors of tobacco, cocoa, dark fruits, sweet sherry wood with a refreshing texture.” He adds, “This is a great food whiskytry it with a cracked black pepper crusted steak with shiitake mushrooms and sauteed spinach in toasted sesame oil.
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New & Bold Personality
Merging the unique flavor characteristics of five regions creates whisky with a personality all its own. The whiskies are reportedly hand-selected by Suntory chief blender Shinji Fuwa to make the best use of the individual flavor profiles offered by each. The combination creates a complex whisky that delivers new perspectives, which vary depending on the temperature of the liquid, and the manner in which it is enjoyed. Suntory Ao offers whisky enthusiasts a unique experience that utilises the distinguishing features, and power of, Suntorys acclaimed distilleries combined.
Hibiki Harmony Japanese Whisky
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Japanese Whisky Brands & Company Information
It is not easy finding a consistent place to buy Japanese whisky at a competitive price too which is why I created the above list because the manufacturers, importers, and distributors below do not make it easy finding a retailer.
The Honbu family has been distilling for more than a century, and their whisky distillery is Japans highest distillery at 798 meters.
- Product lineup: Iwai Whisky and Tradition
- Distributor locator: Youngs Market is where the service industry goes to for their needs.
- Dealer locator: N/A
The founder, Masataka Taketsuru studied the distilling process of Scotch whisky in Scotland, and he started Nikka in 1934 in Yoichi, Hokkaido, Japan.
- Product lineup: Taketsuru, Whisky from the Barrel, Coffey Grain/Malt Whisky, Single Malt Yoichi/Miyagikyo, the Nikka
- Dealer locator: N/A
Ohishi Whisky is distilled entirely from rice and aged in either brandy or sherry casks .
- Product lineup: Sherry cask and brandy cask
The Complete Guide To Suntory Japanese Whisky: Important Brands And Bottles Explained
From Hibiki to highball whisky, heres everything you need to know about Suntory, Japans most prolific whisky makers.
Welcome to Brand Breakdown, a series of comprehensive yet easy-to-digest guides to your favorite companies, with insights and information you wont find on the average About page.
Yamazaki. Hakushu. Hibiki. When a Westerner thinks of Japanese whisky, they think of names under the House of Suntory. Which makes sense, of course Shinjiro Toriis company, founded in 1923, is Japans first and most popular whisky maker. But it wasnt always that way.
In 1929, Torii hired Masataka Taketsuru to create the worlds first Japanese whisky. They got it wrong. The expression, called Suntory Shirofuda, tasted too much like Scotch too peaty, too powerful. Torii realized the Japanese palate didnt want ultra-smokey peat bombs it wanted finesse. So they made what has since become the most popular whisky Japan: Suntory Kakubin. Its light, punchy and floral, the baseline for all Japanese whiskies to come.
Since then, Suntorys whiskies have grown in volume, quality and prestige. It operates three whisky distilleries across Japan Yamazaki Distillery, Hakushu Distillery, Chita Distillery each with its own purpose and flair. Heres everything you need to know.
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In The Best Scotch Tradition
With respect to both the ingredients and production methods, Japanese whisky is very similar to traditional Scotch whisky. And no wonder, because Masataka Taketsuru, the pioneer of Japanese whisky, learned his craft locally in the early 20th century at various Scottish whisky distilleries. He returned to Japan in 1920 and was contracted by Shinjiro Torii, the founder of Japan’s first whisky distillery. This distillery was where Suntory started, a company that not only produces excellent Japanese whisky, but also world famous American whiskeys such as Jim Beam or Maker’s Mark.
Later, Taketsuru established The Nikka Whisky Distilling Company, which operates the two Japanese whiskey distilleries in the Hokkaid region and in Northern Honshu. There are now quite a few renowned whisky distilleries in Japan and they are barely keeping up with the high demand for their quality products. This is also a reason why the Japanese distilleries are starting to purchase the traditional Scottish businesses.
These Essential Bottles Are Worth Seeking Out
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LIQUOR / Chloe Jeong
Best for Cocktails: Shinju Whisky at Drizly
Matured for two to four years in white oak barrels, Shinju is a Japanese whisky that is geared towards the cocktail world.
Japanese whisky has become incredibly popular over the past few years. Bottles have also become increasingly rare , as distilleries have struggled to meet the demand due to the categorys rapid growth. Brands have stepped in by offering new blends and no-age-statement whiskies, and many of these are great cocktail components. If you are looking for bottles, be sure to do your research as some brands source a blend of whiskies made in other countries, bottle it in Japan and call it Japanese whisky. But theres a reason why its so sought-afterthere are some truly incredible drams to be drunk. Here are the best bottles of Japanese whiskies available, with help from a few experts.
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Other Whiskies Of Interest
Information and Whisky Prices
The prices of whisky shown by these search results are indicative and can be subject to change. Before finishing your transaction, do consult the whisky retailers website. VAT or Sales Tax is included within whisky prices, but shipping costs are not included. Your purchase may be subject to import duty.
Trying To Find A Liquor Store That Specifically Carries Japanese Whisky In Orange County Can Be A Pita Which Is Why This Directory Was Created
It does not seem like it was too long ago that Japanese whiskies were somewhat moderately priced, except those days are long gone. Now that Yamazaki 12 I gave as a gift, I wish I had kept it for myself because locating a place on where to buy Japanese whisky in Orange County is just the beginning because the price has got to be right too.
I primarily focused on Suntory and Nikka products because they offer some of the best and widest range of whiskies although some of the places listed will carry more than just these two brands.
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Search And Compare The Most Trusted Whisky Retailers On One Website
Its our job to find the best whiskies at the right price for you and help you to get whisky online. Try our advanced whisky finder to locate the best in American whiskey, scotch, single malt and more online. Our retailers supply Scottish whisky, Canadian whisky, Irish & American Whiskies, Japanese whiskies, and whiskies from other locations on the globe, so you can purchase whisky for yourself or buy a whisky gift online. Cannot decide which whisky to buy? We can help you by recommending a brand based on your taste and budget, or you can browse our whisky reviews on popular brands such as The Balvenie, The Macallan, Laphroaig and many others. Follow our podcasts and you might become a whisky expert, yourself.
Further Expansion At Suntory Whisky
The Japanese whisky boom allowed Suntory to expand even further and today they have vested interests in not only Japanese whisky, but also Scotch and bourbon. They have gone on to produce some of the most astounding whiskies ever created, picking up a huge number of awards along the way.
They are without a doubt one of the biggest drinks companies in the world today – a true drinks giant and whisky legend.
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Expertise You Can Taste
Over the past few years, the Japanese pursuit of perfection has transformed the global perception of blended whisky. The craftsmanship and inspiration of Suntory blenders drove the category to new heights, giving enthusiasts a taste of a truly harmonious whisky. By giving these artisans an expanded palette of ingredients, Suntory Ao allows these blending geniuses to develop completely new flavors while still maintaining the companys reputation for producing blended whisky that is impeccably well balanced.
It Claims To Have Been Used In The Original Highball
Turns out, Suntory takes credit for a lot of firsts one of them being the Japanese whisky Highball. This two-ingredient beverage combines whisky and sparkling water, and is served in a Collins glass over ice. According to the brand, Suntory popularized the beverage in the 1950s at its Tory bars all around Japan.
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|Item model number|
|Store away from direct light in a cool & dry place|
|Beam Suntory, Springburn Bond, Carlisle St, Glasgow, G21 1EQ|
|Country of origin|
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It Wasnt Always Known As Suntory
In the 1940s, before Suntory was a household name in the United States, it was an inexpensive Japanese brand known as Torii Shoten, then Kotobukiya. The brand officially changed its name in 1963 to Suntory, a manipulation of the Japanese words san, meaning three likely after Toriis three sons and Torii for the brands founder.
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Best For Highball: Suntory Toki
“I really enjoy Suntory Toki Whisky,” says Darnell Holguin, co-founder of The Silver Sun Group and beverage partner at New York’s Las’ Lap. “Toki, which means time in Japanese, has a blend of some of the best that Suntory makes. It has notes of pink grapefruit, almonds and a light vanilla finish. Just mix some with sparkling water and a squeeze of lemon, and you’ll have yourself a yummy Highball.”
Bevmo / Multiple Locations
Alcohol is what theyre mainly about
Locations : Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Cypress, Lake Forest, Orange, Laguna Niguel, Dana Point, Anaheim Hills, Ladera RanchBrands: Suntory, Nikka, Iwai, Ohishi, Chichibu, Fukano, to KikoriPricing/availability: one of the most competitively priced places to buy alcohol/spirits whisky, beer, etc, so I had to have them on the list because BevMo and Hi-Times are my go-to places. Especially for Glenfiddich because I cant afford to drink Nikka casually all day, every day when Glenfiddich is as low as $28.99-32.99.
Hours may vary from store-to-store
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The Mixing Glass / Costa Mesa
Bartenders who know their trade turned business owners.
- Iwai, Nika, and Ohishi Whisky are just a few of the Japanese whisky offered at the Mixing glass.
Location:3313 Hyland Ave, Costa Mesa, CA 92626Brands: Iwai, Nikka, Ohishi, to name a few.Pricing/availability: if you want to go someplace where they actually know something beyond what aisle the Scotch and whisky is located on, you have to come here. They carry the usual suspects, but they also carry the obscure, like the stuff only people in what I like to call the biz know of .Telephone: 975-9952
Locations:2975 Harbor Blvd, Costa Mesa, CA 92626Brands: Suntory, Nikka, White Oak, and a number of others.Pricing/availability: who would have thought a Japanese market would have it? Everybody thats who, its Japanese whisky and a Japanese market, but what I was not expecting was such uncompetitive or average pricing. I mean, I thought theyd be like hey, youre a Japanese company, and were a Japanese company, so were going to hook it up. Well, that wasnt happening.Telephone: 751-8433
Uniting The Whisky World
Suntorys new blend once again manages to whip up excitement by offering a release that pushes the boundaries of the whisky industry even further. Named Ao, the Japanese word for blue, this whisky was named with the seven seas in mind. The seas link the worlds five largest whisky regions and it was from Suntory distilleries in these nations that liquid was chosen for blending to form this revolutionary new expression. For the first time, fans can experience the unity of Irish, Scotch, American, Canadian and Japanese whiskies from Suntorys world renowned distilleries.
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Best Overall: Yamazaki 12 Year Old
Suntorys Yamazaki 12 Year Old could be considered the core expression of the brands single malt lineup . It is probably the best known Suntory whisky and was once pretty easy to find . This is a floral and fruity single malt reminiscent of scotch but in a style that is very much its own. All in all, it’s an excellent starting point for those wishing to explore the category of Japanese whisky.
Costco / Multiple Locations
Attention Costco shoppers they carry Japanese whisky and as expected, the pricing is competitive.
- Goes great with Japanese kakuni or Okinawan rafute.
- Suntory Toki.
- My favorite of Nikka is the Taketsuru.
Locations: Fullerton, Garden Grove, Alton Marketplace, Tustin, The District, Bella Terra, San Juan Capistrano, Fountain Valley, Westminster, Laguna Niguel, Yorba Linda, La Habra.Brands: Suntory, NikkaPricing/availability: I dont even have a CostCo membership, but everybody I know who drinks knows that this is the spot for Japanese whisky. Not only do they carry a decent range, but like always, the pricing is as good as it gets.
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Things You Should Know About Suntory Whisky
Whether youre an avid Japanese whisky drinker or just a fan of Bill Murray movies, chances are youve heard of Suntory. Founded by Shinjiro Torii in 1923, the brand has only gained in popularity, becoming one of the most well-known Japanese whiskies on the international market.
For relaxing times, make it Suntory time and read on for 10 things you should know about the largest Japanese whisky brand.
Just Want To Find A Bar With Japanese Whisky At I Got You
When the internet came about, this is the website and service that we all needed, I mean for us drinkers. The site TapHunters allows you to search for a bar that serves a Yamazaki 12 to a Nikka Coffey grain. Pure sorcery, if it works effectively! Well, the skeptic I am, here are the results for Suntory Whisky Toki based on my 92663 zip code .
- The Eldo, Long Beach, 16.17mi
- The Whisper House, Claremont, 34.85mi
- Heroes Restaurant Brewery, Downtown Riverside, 40.78mi
- Mission Ave Bar and Grill, 42.45mi
- Basin 141, Glendale, 43.72mi
- Lucky Fools Pub, Moorpark 71.12mi
- Dan Diegos, San Diego, 71.33mi
- Slaters 50/50 Liberty Station, San Diego. 73.94mi
Im not impressed with the results because it costs businesses $$ which means it does not really help you or I, but it might be worth a look.
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