Get your hands on this one while you can. Distilled in a rare, vintage Coffey still, it has more in common with easy going Irish whiskey than multi-faceted scotch. On the palate, there’s flavors of dried apricot, candied pineapple, malt and cornbread. It finishes honeyed and bright, with a smoothness that lingers.
Ohishi Brandy Cask Whisky ($72)
In a category all its own, this spirit is distilled from rice like a traditional shochu, instead of malted grain. Although this spirit is not considered a whisky in Japan, its time spent in brandy barrels qualifies the spirit as a whisky in America. On the palate the spirit retains some of the grape-based spirit’s essence, and is bright and floral, with flavors of jasmine tea, candied orange and a savory tinge of salt and fennel.
Ohishi Sherry Cask Whisky ($72)
The second offering from the Ohishi distillery is a completely different animal than its lighter, more honeyed brother. Dark and complex, it’s aged in sherry barrels before being bottled unfiltered. Rich with sherry’s buttery nuttiness, it has strong flavors of stone fruits, nutmeg, vanilla and buttered biscuits.
An introductory blend from one of the oldest distilleries in Japan, this whisky is light, minimal and precise. Similar to Speyside scotches, it’s fruity and honeyed. Drink it in a traditional Japanese Highball on a hot summer's day.
From Suntory’s famous Hakushu distillery in the Japanese Southern Alps, this 12-year single malt is complex and crisp. But its lightness is deceptive. Green apple tartness opens to flavors of sugar cookies, menthol, smoke, and a rounded, mouth-coating finish. Drink this while wearing a velvet smoking jacket at your mountain cabin.
A delicious, entry level blend from Suntory, the Toki whisky is just as good sipped on its own as it is served in a refreshing Highball. With flavors of cereal, stone-fruit and custard, this light whisky is wonderfully crisp and extremely easy to mix into cocktails.
Inspired by American whiskies, this bottling is aged in ex-bourbon barrels. With a mash bill of malted barley and corn, it has flavors akin to its Kentucky cousins. On the palate there’s charred oak, vanilla bean, cinnamon spice and a lasting, creamy corn finish. Use this in stirred and strong cocktails like the Old Fashioned.
Everything this distillery creates is liquid gold, including this phenomenal whisky. After being lauded with so many awards (including best whisky in the world), Yamazaki’s products have been in short supply, so snatch this bottle up if ever you see it. You likely won’t drink anything better this year.
A blend of malted whiskies from Nikka’s Yoichi and Miyagikyo distilleries, this spirit was named after the distillery’s founder and the father of Japanese whisky, Masataka Taketsuru. Smooth as all get out, this whisky is as luxurious as a supple, leather Chesterfield sofa. Drink it slow and never mix it.