Japan has been producing Whisky since the early 1920's with the creation of the House of Suntory's Yamazaki Distillery. With two main figureheads at its production inception; Shinjiro Torii and Masataka Taketsuru. Both studied the fine art of whisky distillation on Scottish soil and returned to their homeland having refined their craft.
Their Scotch training dictated a whisky production similar to ours; relying heavily on malted barley that's mashed and distilled twice using a traditional pot still.
1929 saw the sale of Japan's first single malt and from this point the demand for fine Japanese whisky grew on a global scale. As this original whisky loving consumer grew older, the whisky aged too - resulting in Japanese whisky being labelled an expensive old man's drink.
House of Suntory saught to change this idea and created Toki blend whisky; with a view to converting a new, younger consumer. A select blend of three of House of Suntory's globally acclaimed whiskies were used to create the recipe. Blending of Chita, Yamazaki and Hakushu whiskies have resulted in this fresh and innovative whisky Toki (meaning Time in Japanese).
A driving force behind Japans rekindled love of whisky, was the creation of the simple cocktail; The Whisky Highball - a long drink (served warm in winter) of Whisky topped with sparkling water and garnished with citrus fruit called yuzu. (known in Australasia as 'ugly fruit' it looks like a rough skinned lemon but tastes like grapefruit crossed with mandarin, its flesh encrusted with large seeds is sour and it's rind intensely aromatic)
This fresh innovative cocktail has set a clear trend and brought fresh light on how to enjoy whisky. It's taken off as the perfect aperitif for Japanese Cuisine and equally perfect post meal beverage, to cleanse and refresh the palate.
This is all sounding appealing...anyone can enjoy a cocktail or two...but what makes the Toki blend the unanimous tipple of choice for whisky newbies?
As a blended whisky, Toki is the first of its kind. That’s not to say it’s the first blended whisky, but its particular production method has not been used before for the spirit.
Traditional blended whiskies are made with a pyramid structure. The majority of the whisky forming the base of the pyramid is a grain whisky. A little less malt whisky is added on top of that.
Finally, distillers add a very small amount of dressing malt. This structure is used because malt whisky is much stronger than grain whisky and can overpower it. As a result, most distillers must use lots of the latter and less of the former.
However, in Toki, Suntory has found a way of circumventing that issue; their blenders use a particularly heavy type of grain whisky and a much lighter malt. The ingredients balance one another out, making it ideal for whisky first-timers: A lighter type malt means it is much easier to swallow than normal blended type whiskies or a single malt, which makes it perfect for a new entrants to the whisky market. Sheer brilliance!
Facts for our Whisky Aficionado
BOTTLE SIZE: 70cl
COLOR: Clear gold
NOSE: Basil , green apple, honey
PALATE: Grapefruit , green grapes, peppermint, thyme
FINISH: Subtly sweet and spicy finish with a hint of vanilla oak, white pepper and ginger.
Brian and the team hope they can welcome you soon to share this unique dram...here's our current A La Carte menu for those needing further persuasion! Cheers!
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