The story of Japanese whisky goes back about 90 years and owes its existence largely to two people – Shinjiro Torii and Masataka Taketsuru, who founded the distilleries behind the two largest producers – Suntory and Nikka.
Taketsuru travelled to Scotland to study organic chemistry at the University of Glasgow before working at the Hazelburn distillery in Campbelltown. It comes as no surprise, then, that the whiskies produced at the Yamazaki and Yoichi distilleries established by Taketsuru are modelled strongly on the Scotch style, with other Japanese whisky following suit over the years.
Japanese whisky, now globally recognised for its quality by awards and honours earned in international spirit competitions, only comes from nine distilleries – coincidentally the same number as Tasmania.
Fyfe says the continued rise in popularity of Scotch whisky has had a flow-on effect – no pun intended.
As an aside my good friend vr has invested in a bottle of Yamazaki Distiller’s Reserve and highly recommends it. She reports, however, that the whiskey tends to evaporate in the glass. Reminds me of the time I told Mrs D that my suit had shrunk at the dry cleaner.