If the finer points of Japanese culture can prove elusive to the Western psyche, much the same could be said for the country’s whisky. While there may be echoes of Scotland in the distilleries of Honshu and Hokkaido, the huge variety of production techniques produces multifaceted whiskies with an identity all their own.
Japanese whisky is much older than people often realise, with the first malt distillery producing spirit in 1923. The past century has seen a small number of distilleries define a wide range of Japanese whisky styles, but since the early 2000s we have seen a rapid acceleration in both popularity and innovation. Where there once only a handful of producers, there are now tens, and Japanese whisky is branching out into a new era of whisky making.