In 1923 the first whisky was distilled.
A Japanese man, Masataka Taketsuru travelled to Scotland for his apprenticeship at Hazelburn distillery. He later became Japan's first distiller at Suntory's Yamazaki distillery. The Japanese whisky is very similar to the Scottish template. Japan always looks to Scotland for inspiration.
Barley -imported from Scotland
Peat - imported from Scotland
Most is made from crystal clear wort, which has been fermented for a long time with a selection of yeasts. This gives a clean precise array of flavours and rarely any maltiness.
Malted barley > distilled in pot stills to make singe malt
Corn, wheat and rye > distilled in a column and Coffey stills to produce grain whiskey
Japanese distillers do NOT exchange whiskies. They produce all of their flavour components for their blends. Distilleries are set up to be as flexible as possible.
Yamazaki and Hakushu (Suntory owned) have a huge range of stills varying in different shapes and sizes.
Mostly used American oak, some new oak is used.
Small amount of Japanese oak which imparts an intense incense-like perfume
Has been a blend dominated market, but as that category declines, interest in single malts is rising. Distillers are now releasing their secret whiskies that had previously been solely used in blends.