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Japanese whiskey voted the best in the world

By Chris V. Thangham     Apr 28, 2008 in Entertainment
Japanese whiskey is voted the best in the world in an international competition. It is the first time in history that a whiskey from outside Scotland has won this honor.
Scotland is known for its bagpipes, whiskey, haggis and kilts. And now Japan has taken over one of their national brands in an international competition run by Whisky Magazine, the main journal in the whiskey industry.
Yoichi, 20 years old and distilled near the city of Sapporo on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, beat 200 other whiskey brands including the last year’s winner, Talisker 18 years old, produced on the Isle of Skye. Yoichi was chosen the best malt brand by a panel of 16 judges.
Another Japanese brand also won a prize in this competition. Suntory Hibiki won the award for the world’s best blended whisky. Suntory became famous after Bill Murray advertised it in his film, “Lost in Translation”.
The judges praised the Yoichi 20 years old and said it had an “amazing mix of big smoke and sweet blackcurrant”, “explosive aroma” and “big, long and sweet finish."
The Japanese distillers had succeeding in producing the top Scotch thanks to the variable climate in Japan, which assists maturation and creates a purer whiskey with a heightened aroma.
Also, the Japanese used traditional distilling equipment such as coal-fired pot stills, which are widely available in Japan but rarely used in Scotland. This differences appealed to the judges, who said they favored a superior dram from Japanese compared to others.
Rob Allanson, editor of Whisky Magazine, wrote in the article: "Japanese whiskies performed magnificently and they are really starting to make waves.”
Tetsuji Hisamitsu, chief blender at the Yoichi distillery, said he was “very moved” by the award.
Both Yoichi and Suntory are produced by Nikka, the biggest spirits producer in Japan. Nikka is trying to penetrate the British whiskey market dominated by Scotland. With the above awards from the Whisky Magazine, it will be easy for them to gain recognition and market in Britain.
Japan may not have the original product ideas but they are very adept in improving on an original. Just like their mastery over electronics they are showing their skills in the whiskey industry.
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