What’s The Difference Between Japanese And American Whiskey

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If you enjoy alcoholic beverages, especially whiskey, then you probably know there are quite a few types of it. Of course, we are all used to Irish and Scottish whiskey, but American and Japanese can be a nice choice too. You don’t believe us?

What would you say about the fact that Japanese whiskey is a high-quality beverage that many people around the world enjoy drinking it? We can say the same about the American one too.

But, what do you need to know about both Japanese and American whiskey?

Stay with us, we have some interesting things to share with you.

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What’s Japanese whiskey?

The Japanese are among those who took an example of Scots when it comes to whiskey production. It’s common knowledge that the Japanese are passionate consumers of this drink. The consumption of whiskey per capita in Japan is significantly higher than that of the Americans or the British, for example. However, this development was not predictable and is very unusual, because until now whiskey is the only distilled alcoholic drink coming from the west that managed to fight for its safe place in the Japanese market.

From the beginning, Japanese whiskey couldn’t find its place in the western markets. In the 60s and 70s, numerous small distilleries were established in Japan that were fast in production. Therefore, whiskey was often characterized as cheap alcohol. However, good whiskey was not exported abroad. The Japanese preferred to enjoy their own product independently, which led to high consumption in their country. Whiskey was very successfully advertised as a food supplement or as a substitute for sake.

According to the Japanese Quality Whisky Society, today’s product is quite popular as the American and Scottish versions, meeting all the quality requirements for manufacturing and distribution.

What is American whiskey?

Americans produce similar drinks, but there are still different categories. For example, if you search for whiskey in the US, you will be asked if you want Tennessee whiskey, bourbon, rye, rye malt, malt, wheat, corn, or some blend. What is specific is that American whiskey often contains additional colors and artificial flavors. The regulations in the US are very different than anywhere else in the world and many food additives are allowed there.

However, this is not the reason why all types of whiskey are popular all over the world, among all consumers. Of course, the choice is so large that everyone can find a drink that they like and satisfy their personal desires and taste.

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What do you need to know about the differences between Japanese and American whiskey?

The biggest difference between these two types of whiskey is the production method. Japan has different quality standards compared to the US. Manufacturers in both countries take their tasks very seriously and are always at the highest level of realization.

What you should know is that in Japan there are somewhat higher standards, such as the fermentation period, distillation, maceration, and taste testing process.

On the other hand, in the US you’ll often find a product that was made a few months ago, but that doesn’t mean America makes bad whiskey. Simply, the recipes according to which the drinks are produced are different, and thus there are certain differences when it comes to taste.

Japanese whiskey is very similar to Scotch. It has a dry taste, with an aroma of smoke and fire. This is exactly the taste that whiskey lovers adore. And we must emphasize that the Japanese import whiskey ingredients from Scotland.

But what does that mean?

We can come to one general conclusion that American whiskey has a consistent quality and taste. On the other hand, Japanese, following the example of Scotch, can vary depending on what the ingredients are and what water is used in production.

In our opinion, both traditions are wonderful, because a product is offered for everyone’s taste, and therefore for every budget.

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Special characteristics of Japanese whiskey

The biggest difference between Japanese whiskeys and those from Scotland is certainly the fact that Scots prefer Single Malt whiskey. The Japanese mostly prefer blends, which is also a beautiful reason why Japanese manufacturers aim for perfection.

In Japan, the whiskeys used for blending are mostly used in the distilleries of the same producers. Big producers have an obvious advantage because they can choose from many different varieties.

Japanese whiskey has a very diverse taste. It is most similar to Scottish whiskey. Japanese distilleries are characterized by a high level of quality awareness. Japanese whiskey can be matured in a variety of casks, but the regional Mizunara oak barrels are preferred in Japan. They give a very typical sweet and peppery taste. In addition, Japanese water can make a significant difference. A typical Japanese climate allows whiskey to mature much faster than in the West.

Today, Japanese whiskey offers the right thing for every lover of this drink and therefore it should not be missing in any home bar. Luckily, you can find great types of Japanese whiskey around, and see how you like it.


Whiskey tasters are already well aware of these differences. They can also notice differences between different types of whiskey as well as brands. It is the art of enjoying a quality drink, which is typical of hedonists.

So, if you find yourself in this description, and you haven’t tried Japanese whiskey yet, then we recommend that you do so as soon as possible. You will really be surprised by the similarity to Scotch whiskey but with the unique touches of Japanese production standards.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to give up your favorite types of whiskey. We simply recommend you try something new, which we are sure will satisfy even the most refined sense of taste.

Did you like our review of these two popular types of whiskey? We hope you will be able to choose a quality whiskey for your home collection or even for a themed party with your friends. And we are sure you will do the right thing following this practical guide.