May 17, 2018
No one took Japanese whisky seriously until Jim Murray named the Yamazaki Single Malt Sherry Cask 2013 the best whisky in the world in his Whisky bible. Cue: outrage from the entire Scotland and a sudden obsession with Japanese whiskies. 2 years ago, Japanese distilleries warned that they were running dry, which only made everyone buy even more.
Most people are more familiar with Chivas, Johnnie Walker and Jack Daniels as they are the most common brands that bars and clubs stock up on for the casual drinker. Japanese whisky was more of an enigma, and people used to scoff at it. The rising prices and rarity of Japanese whiskies that resulted from the sudden spike in popularity doesn’t help too. Nikka, Yamazaki and Suntory have all been steadily rationing bottles to ensure that they’ve got enough to outlast the shortage.
The Hibiki 12 year old used to be one of the most affordable whiskies until Suntory discontinued the range a couple of years ago. A bottle used to go for about $100, and now costs nearly $400 for a bottle (if you can find one) . That then left the Hibiki 17 year old that didn’t cost an entire month’s paycheck and now that’s gone too. The Hibiki 17 is the next one to bite the dust and will be discontinued from September 2018. The Hibiki 21 will still be around, but at over $1,200 a bottle, our wallets are telling us to reconsider.
Expect prices for these two whiskies to rocket
Suntory will also be stopping production of the Hakushu Single Malt Whisky 12 years next month, and a bottle will set you back a good $200.
As a huge Japanese whisky fan, it saddens us to realise that our love for Japanese whiskies is just going to cost us more. At least for the next decade whilst the Japanese distilleries try to recover from this shortage.
Not all hope is lost for the casual whisky drinker though – the good thing is that new distilleries outside Japan are now popping up and they’ve also got affordable and good distills too. Amrut from India caters to a more spicy palate, while those who like the light, smooth whisky from Japan will find that Kavalan from Taiwan is a good substitute.
Amrut Single Malt Whisky
Guess we’re going to be seeing more of our good friend gentleman Jack at the bar now.
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