There seems to be a shortage of many good things in the world and Japanese whisky is no exception. In the past, Japanese whisky was fairly easy to find and relatively inexpensive. However, over the past few years as Japanese whisky has won awards and gained in popularity, the demand for these great whiskies has gone way up and unfortunately the supply simply cannot keep up.
Yamazaki 12-year-old Japanese whisky is one of the most popular brands and for good reason as it has won many world awards. In the past you could purchase a bottle for about $50. However, now if you find it for around $150 it is a good deal. This is if you can find it all. Even with the skyrocketing prices for Japanese whisky, it is still almost always worth the price.
If you are in Singapore, there are some bottles of Japanese whisky that would be cheaper to buy if you were to take a quick trip to Japan instead. The reason for this is because Singapore has some pretty high taxes on spirits and beer. Additionally, because of the short supply, many retailers are marking up prices because they know people are going to pay it. Unfortunately, travel is a bit more difficult these days, so buying whisky in Singapore is one of the only options.
When you go to buy Japanese whisky in Singapore, you need to be careful. There are some brands that are bottling their whisky in Japan and labeling it as Japanese whisky. While there are some decent whiskies available that are not made in Japan, you are not truly getting what you are looking for. In addition, there are some brands that are bottling whisky from rice instead of grain, which essentially makes it a shochu and not necessarily a whisky.
If you truly want a good bottle of Japanese whisky, do not give up on your hunt. With a bit of persistence and some cash you can find some of the great aged statement bottles as well as many of the newer blends. Here are some of the Japanese whisky brands that you should be able to find in Singapore and are worth the try.
Suntory Whisky Toki
If you just want to enjoy a solid Japanese whisky, Suntory Whisky Toki is going to be relatively easy to find and it is also fairly inexpensive. This whisky is extremely popular throughout Japan as a mix for highballs. Simply add in some seltzer and a dash of lemon juice and you have the perfect summer drink. The Toki is made with a mixture of flavorful malts and grain whiskies resulting in a very light spirit. While this is popular for highballs, you can also sip this whisky on its own.
Nikka Coffey Grain
More casual drinkers will hear the name Nikka Coffey Grain and think that this is some type of coffee and liquor drink. However, this Japanese whisky has nothing to do with coffee and is actually named for the man who created a column still in the year 1830. This still is used by the company to this day and is very efficient. Nikka Coffey Grain whisky is made from mash bill made from mostly corn. The use of the column still provides the whisky with almost a bourbon like texture and flavor. The whisky provides notes of vanilla and caramel and a mouthfeel that is a bit oily.
The Hakushu distillery is a really stunning place to see as it is located deep in the Southern Japanese Alps. When it comes to single malt whisky, the Hakushu 18-year-old is probably the best option in Hakushu’s range. However, you will need to put out at least $500 to get your hands on a bottle, if you can even find one. The 12-year-old is a reasonable option and offers flavors that are similar to the 18 at a price that is a bit more affordable for most. This whisky can be tricky to find, so if you come across one you will want to buy it right away.