When most people walk into a bar with the thought of ordering whisky, their minds are usually set on a spirit from the US or Europe. However, these days, Japan is making a big play for the modern whisky drinker’s piece of mind.
Whisky production began in Japan around 1870, with the first commercially produced whisky debuting in 1924. There are two historic figures who influenced the whisky industry in Japan: Shinjiro Torii and Masataka Taketsuru.
Torii founded Kotobukiya, which would eventually become Suntory. Taketsuru studied the art of distilling in Scotland and brought his knowledge back to Japan, where he was hired by Torii as a distillery executive. Torii established the now-famous Yamazaki distillery, near Kyoto, with the help of Taketsuru. In 1934, Taketsuru left Kotobukiya to form his own distilling company, now known as Nikka, in Hokkaido.
Japanese whiskies began earning critical acclaim in the early 2001 when Nikka’s 10-year Yoichi Single Malt was awarded “Best of the Best” at Whisky Magazine’s annual awards. Since then, Japanese whiskies have continued to garner international attention and acclaim.
As of 2011, there were nine active whisky distilleries throughout Japan. Included in these are the highly acclaimed Yamazaki and Hakushu distilleries (owned by Suntory), Yoichi and Miyagikyo distilleries (owned by Nikka), Shinshu distillery and White Oak distillery.
You can enjoy many of the acclaimed whiskies from these distilleries at Ling & Louie’s Asian Bar and Grill. Each location offers a different selection of Japanese whiskies that you can enjoy served in one of four different ways.
And if you’re really looking for a treat, our Scottsdale location will be hosting a special Japanese Whisky Pairing Dinner on Thursday, September 21st, 2017! This special 4-course dinner will pair whiskies from different Japanese distilleries to highlight the diversity and uniqueness of some of the world’s finest whiskies. Seating for this event is limited, so call 480-767-5464 to make your reservations today!