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15 Japanese Whiskies Under $100
Japanese whisky, known for its meticulous craftsmanship and attention to detail, has risen to global acclaim as a symbol of excellence in the world of spirits. With roots tracing back to early pioneers like Masataka Taketsuru, who studied the art of whisky-making in Scotland, Japanese distillers have mastered the delicate balance of tradition and innovation. Renowned for their precision in crafting nuanced and elegant expressions, Japanese whiskies often showcase a harmonious blend of malt and grain whiskies, yielding a diverse range of flavors. From the renowned single malts of distilleries like Yamazaki and Hakushu to innovative blends that incorporate whiskies from around the world, Japanese whisky continues to captivate enthusiasts with its sophistication, subtlety, and cultural reverence for the spirit. Shop Japanese Whiskies.
Iwai Japanese Whisky
Iwai Tradition pays tribute to Kiichiro Iwai, a key figure in the early days of Japanese whisky. This expression is a nod to American-style whiskies, skillfully crafted with a mash bill featuring Japanese single malt and grain whisky, primarily distilled from corn. The aging process takes place in ex-bourbon barrels, imparting distinctive flavors and characteristics to this Japanese homage to the tradition of American whiskies. Buy it now for $31.99.
Suntory Toki Japanese Whisky
The name "Toki" in Japanese translates to "time," and Suntory's Toki Whisky pays homage to this concept. It is a meticulous blend of whiskies with varying ages sourced from Suntory's three primary distilleries – Hakushu, Yamazaki, and Chita. By combining Hakushu's American white oak cask malt whisky with Chita's robust grain whisky and select Yamazaki malts, Toki achieves a smooth taste and vibrant character. With a proof of 86, this whisky offers a sensory journey, presenting notes of basil, green apple, honey on the nose, followed by flavors of grapefruit, green grapes, peppermint, and thyme on the palate. The finish is subtly sweet and spicy, featuring hints of vanilla oak, white pepper, and ginger. Buy it now for $43.99.
Akashi Blended Whisky
Originally a sake producer, the White Oak distillery, located in the city of Akashi near Kobe, Japan, transitioned to whisky production in 1919. Their mild and stable climate in the Seto Inland Sea region, along with a commitment to quality, sets the stage for their unique expressions. The Eigashima Shuzo "Akashi" White Oak Aged Japanese Whisky is meticulously crafted from a blend of 70% corn and 30% lightly peated UK malt, combined with natural spring water. Distilled in a custom lantern-shaped copper pot still, the whisky matures in ex-bourbon barrels and undergoes a finishing touch in sherry casks. This results in a soft and approachable spirit boasting aromas of black cherry and vanilla, complemented by subtle notes of malt, oak, and roasted nuts. With an ABV of 40%, it offers a well-balanced and flavorful experience. Buy it now for $45.99.
Kaiyō The Single 7 Year Old
Kaiyo Whisky The Single, a 7-year-old Japanese whisky, showcases meticulous craftsmanship. Distilled from all malted barley on a Coffey still, it undergoes a unique maturation process. Initially aged in American Oak ex-Kentucky Bourbon barrels, it further refines its character through additional finishing in Japanese Mizunara oak and ex-Tennessee Whiskey barrels. Un-chillfiltered and benefiting from a three-month ocean maturation, it unveils distinct Mizunara Oak flavors. The nose presents crispness with fruity and floral notes, leading to a palate featuring upfront sweetness of vanilla, honey, and jasmine. The true highlight emerges in the form of exotic fruits, including coconut, banana, pineapple, mango, green apple, pear, and honeydew. Awards include a Whisky Advocate Rating of 89 pts and a Wine Enthusiast Rating of 90 pts, earning recognition as a "Best Buy." With an ABV of 48.0%, Kaiyo Whisky The Single offers a sophisticated and flavorful experience. Buy it now for $50.99.
Nikka Days Whisky
Nikka Days epitomizes the cultural intersection that defines Nikka, existing between East and West, Nature and Human, Tradition and Innovation. Embracing the spirit of continuous learning from each day's journey, Nikka Days represents the brand's latest creation. This whisky is a nuanced blend of grain and malt whiskeys, offering a delightful experience. With its creamy and smooth texture, accompanied by fruity and floral notes, Nikka Days caters to both amateurs and connoisseurs, showcasing the harmonious balance achieved through Nikka's mastery of the art of whisky-making. Buy it now for $52.99.
Iwai Tradition Japanese Whisky
Honoring the legacy of Kiichiro Iwai, a trailblazer in Japanese whisky, this blended expression is a testament to the craft. Comprising 75% malt whisky and 25% corn, the base spirit undergoes maturation in ex-sherry, bourbon, and wine casks. The nose reveals notes of oak and citrus, while the palate unfolds with hints of sherry and mushrooms, creating a harmonious and complex flavor profile. The finish lingers, leaving a lasting impression that pays homage to the early pioneers of Japanese whisky. Buy it now for $59.99.
Hayashi Koyo Ryukyu Whisky
Hayashi Single Grain whisky is a splendid representation of Japanese whisky craftsmanship, deeply rooted in the traditions of the Ryukyu islands. Crafted from the finest indica rice, traditionally used for awamori, this whisky undergoes fermentation and maturation in the embrace of the Okinawa climate. The lush surroundings accelerate and invigorate the maturation process, yielding a magnificent single grain expression. With a robust profile, this whisky unfolds tropical flavors that are distinctively Hayashi. A true testament to Japanese whisky artistry. Buy it now for $59.99.
KUJIRA Ryukyu Whisky Inari
Crafted by one of Okinawa's oldest distilleries, "Kujira Inari" pays homage to the guardian of peace and nature, the whale, and Inari, the mythical god of rice cultivation. This exquisite creation is distilled from 100% premium rice, expertly blended with a selection of handpicked whiskies. The result is a harmonious symphony of flavors reminiscent of the picturesque Ryukyu islands. Tropical, fruity spice dances with delicate oak and butterscotch, leading to a long, sweet finish that crowns the impeccable balance of Kujira Inari. A true celebration of craftsmanship and nature. Buy it now for $64.99.
Kaiyō Signature Mizunara Oak
Kaiyō Whisky "Signature" Mizunara Oak stands as a testament to its exclusive maturation process in the finest Japanese Mizunara Oak barrels. Crafted from 100% malted barley spirit produced entirely in Japan, this whisky undergoes a unique aging journey with a three-month ocean maturation, showcasing the distinctive flavors derived from Mizunara Oak. Remaining un-chillfiltered ensures the whisky maintains maximum depth and richness. Offering a delicately sweet nose with honey and ginger, the palate evolves with nuances ranging from toasted oak and nuttiness to ripe dried fruits and hints of cherry. The finish is a rich tapestry of flavors, featuring dark chocolate, sandalwood, and herbal tea notes. Noteworthy accolades include Whisky Advocate Top 20 Whiskies 2019 (#14), a Whisky Advocate Rating of 92 pts, and a Wine Enthusiast Rating of 91 pts, all contributing to the whisky's exceptional profile. With an ABV of 43.0%, Kaiyō Whisky "Signature" Mizunara Oak is a captivating expression of Japanese craftsmanship and innovation. Buy it now for $69.98.
Nikka Coffey Grain Whisky
Introduced in 2012, this signature grain whisky is a testament to the artistry of Japanese whisky. Crafted predominantly from corn and distilled in a Coffey still, the spirit undergoes maturation in a variety of old casks, including re-filled, remade, and re-charred casks made from American oak. This meticulous process imparts the sweet and mellow flavors characteristic of Coffey distillates. The result is a unique expression that showcases the finesse and innovation synonymous with Japanese whisky craftsmanship. Buy it now for $75.99.
Kujira Ryukyu Whisky
Crafted on Ishigaki island since 1955, Taesen Shuzo presents Kujira Ryukyu, a limited-release Japanese whisky capturing the spirit of Okinawa. Distilled from 100% Japanese long rice and native black Koji, this expression reflects the region's unique terroir. Aged in Virgin American Oak, influenced by the island's tranquility and salty ocean breeze, Kujira Ryukyu unveils a medium-bodied profile with a captivating caramel copper hue. Aromas of toffee and stone fruits welcome you, leading to a complex palate of caramel, plum, and rich honey. Sip slowly and savor the unhurried essence of island time in every drop. With an ABV of 40.0%, this expression offers a delightful journey into the heart of Ishigaki's craftsmanship and natural beauty. Buy it now for $78.99.
KUJIRA Ryukyu Whisky 5 Year Old
Kujira 5 Year, an exceptionally crafted Okinawan whisky, starts with 100% indica rice and black Koji, exclusive to the Ryukyu islands. Masahiro Shuzo, revered master blenders with a rich legacy, carefully chose White Oak Virgin Casks for a 5-year maturation, infusing the spirit with woody spice and delicate tannins. The result is a uniquely textured whisky, culminating in a smooth, mellow, and sweet aftertaste that defines the satisfying character of Kujira 5 Year. Experience the artistry of Okinawa's distillation traditions in every sip. Buy it now for $79.99.
Nikka Coffey Malt Whisky
Introduced in 2013 as part of Nikka's ongoing exploration to diversify and captivate enthusiasts, this distinctive expression is crafted exclusively from 100% malted barley. The whisky, distilled in a Coffey still, undergoes maturation in seasoned casks, elevating its rich maltiness, complexity, and delivering a silky texture that sets it apart. A product of Nikka's commitment to experimentation and innovation, this expression promises a unique and captivating experience for whisky connoisseurs seeking richness and sophistication in every sip. Buy it now for $85.99.
Kaiyō Cask Strength Mizunara Oak
With a remarkable array of tasting notes, this Japanese whisky has garnered acclaim in the spirits world. Impressively rated 90 points by Whisky Advocate and 91 points by Wine Enthusiast, it has also claimed prestigious titles such as "Best of Show" and "Best Japanese Whisky" at the WSWA 2019. The double gold recognition at the same event further underscores its exceptional quality. Boasting an elevated ABV of 53.0%, this whisky promises a bold and distinguished drinking experience that has captured the attention of critics and enthusiasts alike. Buy it now for $95.99.
Ichiro's Malt & Grain Whisky
Ichiro's Malt and Grain is a whisky masterpiece curated by Ichiro Akuto, epitomizing the concept of "All World Whisky." This exceptional blend features Ichiro's Malt as the core, harmoniously interwoven with selections from Scotland, Ireland, Canada, and Bourbon, each aged 3-5 years in their respective countries. The journey culminates in Chichibu, where the blend undergoes an additional 1-3 years of aging onsite. The result is a perfectly balanced fusion, with a Japanese heart complemented by the diverse flavors of global whiskies. Delightful notes of apricot, popcorn toffee, vanilla cream, and meyer lemon zest greet the nose, leading to a palate of toffee, roasted chestnut, gingerbread, vanilla, and black pepper. The medium-long finish is adorned with the sweetness of honey and the warmth of black pepper. Ichiro's Malt and Grain is a testament to the artistry of global whisky craftsmanship. Buy it now for $97.99.