Ever since Bill Murray played an actor turned whisky pitchman in Lost in Translation, thirst for the Japanese version of scotch has been growing. Well, it’s finally Suntory—and Nikka—time in the U.S., with these two Japanese distillers distributing more widely than ever. Although Japanese distillers borrow from Scottish whisky-making traditions (Suntory owns Scotland’s Bowmore Distillery), their product is designed to complement the Japanese way of drinking, which is customarily with food. To make whisky more food-friendly, drinkers in Japan dilute it with water or ice. This is why Japanese whisky is blended to be most delicious at higher levels of dilution, when aromas open and flavors are revealed. To which we say kanpai!
12-year pure malt ($70)
Slightly smoky and malty with subtle apple flavors. Enjoy this bottling from Nikka with a charcuterie platter.
Distilled in 11 uniquely shaped stills and aged in three kinds of oak, this smooth, rich Suntory whisky is freakishly complex over ice, from first sip to watered-down last.
12-year single malt ($60)
Floral and buttery with a honey sweetness, this single malt from Suntory makes a mellow new-style old fashioned.