Three Standout Japanese Whiskeys Available in Boston Now

If 2013 was the year of mezcal, consider 2014 the year of Japanese whiskey, now that hard-to-come-by selections—inspired by single-malt, pot-distilled scotches—are finally trickling into the U.S. To get started, try these stellar examples, all available locally.

Hakushu Single Malt, 12 years (Suntory)

Illustration by the Ellaphant in the Room

Hakushu Single Malt, 12 years (Suntory)

This peatier, fruit-forward single malt comes from Japan’s oldest producer. Notes of peach, green apple, and basil are enhanced by a soft mouth feel, which comes courtesy of Suntory’s water source in the Japanese Southern Alps. 

Available by the bottle at Urban Grape South End ($60).

Yoichi Single Malt, 15 years (nikka)

Illustration by the Ellaphant in the Room

Yoichi Single Malt, 15 years (nikka)

Produced at Nikka’s first distillery in Yoichi, Hokkaido, this whiskey gets much of its smoky character from pot stills heated with finely powdered natural coal. The result is a refined nose of saddle leather, roasted nuts, and dark chocolate.

Available by the bottle at Ball Square Fine Wines ($140).

Ichiro’s Malt: the First (chichibu)

Illustration by the Ellaphant in the Room

Ichiro’s Malt: the First (chichibu)

Chichibu may be Japan’s newest distillery, but this offering, with a dense texture and notes of butterscotch and white pepper, already has a cult following. It’s so rare, in fact, that only 12 bottles made it into Boston.

Available by the glass at O Ya ($58 for a 2-ounce pour).

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