We find they generally lie between Lowland and Speyside in style, with a few prominent exceptions. Most are delicate and perfumed with honeyed sweetness and an alluring creme brulee note at times.
One regularly hears them described as being smooth, but that is somewhat oversimplifying the matter. Light sherry and floral notes abound, generally with notable grain character. Japanese Whisky comes in all styles and flavors.
Today, Japanese whiskies are becoming increasingly popular and hghly sought after by collectors. They represent both a deep respect for tradition as well as the modern, cutting edge of the ancient and honorable art of distilling.
Toki is Japanese for the concept of the connection of time, a nod to the blend of innovation and tradition in every bottle. Toki is a blended whisky from Suntory’s three distilleries. This is a round and sweet blend with notes of peach and custard, and a slightly spicy finish.
Toki is surprisingly light in hue, reflecting what must be significant youth at its core. The nose is also quite light and spry, fragrant with mixed grains, a whiff of smoke, bouquets of fresh flowers, and notes of incense and jasmine.
The palate offers sweetened cereal notes, green apple, brown sugar, and a touch of spearmint. On the finish, it’s more of the same, though the sweeter notes tend to dominate along with touches of ginger and cinnamon.
Hibiki Harmony ($69.99):
Harmony seems like a particularly apt word to describe this well-balanced Japanese blended whisky from the Hibiki range. Hibiki Japanese Harmony is made with malt whiskies from the Yamazaki and Hakushu distilleries, as well as grain whisky from the Chita distillery.
The whiskies are drawn from 5 different types of cask, including American white oak casks, Sherry casks and Mizunara oak casks. The blend itself was crafted by the Suntory Whisky blending team, led by Master Blender Shingo Torii. An elegant expression, with wafts of honey, orange, a herbaceous touch or two and light oak.
While similar to a Highland scotch, there is something almost magical about how beautifully this whisky seems at its core, Japanese.