We love whiskey. We’ve done shows on bourbon, scotch, and talked some about Irish whiskey. While we could easily do full episodes on all the other types of whiskey, we are starting off with this grab bag, mishmash of what we’re calling “other whisk(e)y”. Cheers!
Also – check out our Whiskey Buyer’s Guide: “What Does that Label Say?”
During the 1870s Shinjiro Torii, a pharmaceutical wholesaler, was inspired by the flavor of western liquors. In 1899 he began selling imported wines out of Torii Shoten in Osaka, and by 1907 he made port wine with which he found some monetary success. He remained unsatisfied with just port wine, and so he turned his sights on the creation of a domestic variant of Scotch. In 1923 Torii founded whisky producing company Kotobukiya and opened Japan’s first distillery in Yamazaki.
Another man, Masataka Taketsuru, traveled from Japan to Scotland in 1918 to study English and Organic Chemistry at the University of Glasgow. After finishing school, Taketsuru worked in several Scottish distilleries. He began working in Speyside, a small region that encapsulates half of Scotland’s distilleries and offers a spectrum of whiskies. He then worked in West Lothian, known for its few distilleries and light fruity single malts, and he moved a third time to Campbeltown, a coastal town that makes briny, peaty whisky. Over the years Taketsuru took detailed notes of the distilling process, and in 1924 he brought his knowledge to Torii’s Yamazaki distillery where the two worked together to produce Japan’s first commercial whisky, Suntory Whisky Shirofuda. Suntory is today the third largest distillery in the world. By 1934 Taketsuru decided to leave Suntory to start his own distillery in Yoichi, Hokkaido. Originally called Dai Nippon Kaju, the company would later be known as Nikka Whisky Distilling Co., the second most successful distillery in Japan.
Nikka Coffey Grain Whisky
$60, 70cl, 45.0% abv
Nikka offers a single-grain whiskey produced from their beautiful Coffey (not coffee) stills. Nikka Coffey Grain Whisky is syrupy and floral, soft and silky, it shares more notes with bourbon than scotch. Another great experience at an attainable price.
The Hakushu Single Malt Whisky Aged 12 Years
$90, 70cl, 43.0% abv
Hakushu, a Suntory single malt, offers a clever and delicious 12-year whisky. The flavor is lightly smoky and fruity without being notably sweet. This is a gentle, subtle blend of flavors. A great second or third bottle to try during your Japanese whisky discovery.
Tastes like rum.
Buffalo Trace White Dog – $14.99
ABV: 62.5 percent
Made In: Kentucky
Best Served: Moonshine burns like hell going down, but that’s kind of the fun part about it. Try White Dog neat and report back for further instructions.
ABV: 40 percent
Where It’s Made: Illinois
Best Served: Slowly sip over ice—preferably circular or in the shape of the Death Star. Few Spirits have a killer line-up of Bourbon and Rye—but this small-batch grain whiskey is a great way to go.
Hudson New York City Whiskey – $29.99
ABV: 46 percent
Made In: New York
Best Served: Hudson specializes in making whiskies you can sip calmly—preferably in front of a fire. On the rocks or on ice, it’s tasty either way. Hudson is soft on the tongue, low on the burn scale, and we swear it tastes like running through a corn field with your mouth open.
Beer and Shot… works every time.