Whiskey is often thought of as a quintessentially American, Irish or Scottish liquor. In particular, the single malt Scotch variety is considered the province of these three whiskey superpowers. The people making these erratic assumptions are not only wrong, but they are likely missing out on some really interesting and unique whiskeys. In particular, they are missing out on Japanese whiskeys.
Whiskey production in Japan dates all the way back to 1870. Commercial production began in 1924 at the Yamazaki distillery. That distillery continues to produce high quality whiskey that is enjoyed not just in Japan but the world over.
Generally speaking, Japanes whiskey is spelled without the last “e.” This is because it adheres most closely with Scottish style whisky, and that is the way they tend to spell it. No matter how many letters are in the word though, Japanese whiskey offers much of the same high quality flavors as their Scottish, American and Irish counterparts, with a delicate and mellow taste unique to the region.
In spite of it being imported, the prices of a good 12-year-old Yamazaki are surprisingly in line with that of similar domestic whiskeys in its league. Check out The Whiskey Place for it and other great Japanese whiskeys.