With the eyes of the world focussed on Tokyo, like us, you may also be wanting a bit of that culture, escapism and “spirit” in your own home this summer. Japan is home to some of the world’s finest distilleries, making both classic Whiskies and adventurous provenance-rich Gins.
We’ve rounded up a few of the best offerings for you to explore…
Flavourful and complex yet accessibly priced… Toki is a great way to introduce yourself to the world of Japanese Whisky. It’s silky, with a subtle sweet and spicy finish achieved by blending together Whiskies from Suntory’s three distilleries Yamazki, Hakushu and Chita.
A brilliant gin, Roku leads with an aroma of cherry blossom and yuzu. To taste, there's a classic gin base plus characteristic Japanese botanical notes such as yuzu upfront and sansho pepper that brings a little spiciness to the finish.
Hibiki’s Japanese Harmony delivers a full orchestra of flavours and aromas. This is a delicate floral whisky which is sweet to taste, fresh on the nose with candied orange peel and complex oak finish. The added attraction here is that it doesn’t just taste good, with its 24-faceted side bottle it looks fab too.
Distilled from Japanese white rice (the word 'haku' even means 'white' in Japanese) and filtered through bamboo charcoal - Haku Vodka is excellent in a Bone Dry Vodka Martini. Smooth, nuanced and with an elegant simplicity, it’s one to savour.
One of the country’s stand out gins, Ki No Bi Gin has a great, oily juniper beginning, but yuzu quickly steps in to send the gin spiralling, followed by a briny sansho pepper and light tea notes. Sip it and let the Japanese flavours unfurl.