Japanese Whisky

Artisanal Whiskies for World Whisky Day – 20 May

World Whisky Day on 20 May 2023 is a time to try whiskies from around the globe and not just the obvious sources, delicious though Scottish and Irish tipples are. If you haven’t yet sampled Japanese whiskies, you are in for treats. Start on this whisky virtual world tour with two of the best from Japan – Akashi and Togouchi. Each of these iconic Japanese whisky ranges comprises exceptional liquids with unusual taste profiles.

How to drink them

Japanese whiskies are distinctively different and designed to be consumed in a way that differs from traditional spirits in this sector. These are designed to be enjoyed as light, fresh, long drinks, a style that is particular to Japanese whiskies.  The new Japanese expressions being launched now bring an injection of excitement and new interest to the whisky sector and will surprise and delight your taste buds, especially if you’ve not tried this style before. They often convert non-whisky drinkers due to the light taste profile.

Togouchi Whiskies

The expressions


The Togouchi brand includes some expressions that only recently became available the UK: Togouchi Beer Cask (40% ABV); Togouchi Sake Cask (40% ABV); Togouchi Pure Malt (40% ABV) ;and Togouchi Single Malt (43% ABV). Look out too for Togouchi Premium (40% ABV); Togouchi 9 YO (40% ABV); and Togouchi 15 YO (43.8%).

About the distillery

This is a high-end, artisanal Japanese whisky brand produced by Sakurao Brewery & Distillery, based in Hatsukaichi, a small distillery in southern Japan. Founded in 1918, the distillery has been producing sake and other liquors and began creating whisky in 1990.

The elegant 70cl bottle design reflects the design of the company’s Shochu jars.

Where to buy

Togouchi Premium Blended Whisky is available through Waitrose at £44.50.

Akashi Whiskies


The expressions

Look out for the Akashi collection of whiskies including Akashi Blended Sherry Cask (50% ABV); Akashi Blended (40% ABV); Akashi Single Malt (46% ABV); and Akashi Single Malt Sherry Cask 5 YO (50% ABV).

About the distillery

The distillery which makes Akashi, the Eigashima Distillery, was founded in 1888, and is owned by one of the country’s oldest and most distinguished sake producers. The Eigashima company’s own history dates to the 1700s. It wasn’t until the early 20th century that Eigashima Distillery was granted a licence to produce whisky and the first whisky was distilled in 1984.

Unusually, this distillery produces whisky during only one month of the year. The range of exhilarating, light, fresh whiskies are delicate and sophisticated and usually served as long drinks served in a highball glass with water and ice or in contemporary cocktails.

The whiskies are stored before release for between 3-8 years mostly in oak casks previously used for bourbon, sherry, wine, or sake.

Where to buy

Akashi Blended Whisky is also available through Waitrose priced at £33 for 50cl.