Since the highball boom, whisky consumption in Japan has skyrocketed from75 millionin 2008 to 135 million in 2015.
Similarly, in 2017 the sales of Japanese whisky abroad hit a record high of 5.49 million liters, more than five times the amount of ten years ago. At the same time, the shortage ofmalt whiskybecame a problem.
Of course, other cereals can be malted, such as maize, wheat or rye, and the resulting product is known as grain whisky. However, what is popular today is single malt whisky, obtained from malted barley. Due todifferencesin the manufacturing method, distilleriestends to fall short of single malt whisky, compared to grain whiskywhichcan be mass producedinstead.
A recipient of numerous prizes at the International Spirits Challenge, with its brandsYamazaki, Hibiki, and Hakushu,Suntory’s single malt whisky has risen to international fame.Suntory Yamasaki Distillery isJapan’s oldest malt whisky distillery,located in the southwest of Kyoto, at the foot of Tennozan. The history of Japanese whisky making beganin Yamazaki in 1923.
The neighbourhood of Yamazaki Distillery is known for theRikyūno Mizu(“water of the imperial villa”), a natural spring wellhead mentioned in the Song of Man’yōand selected by the Ministry of the Environment as one of the 100 Exquisite and Well-Conserved Waters.This water serves as the preparation water for whisky. In addition to the spring water, the area is blessed with the tree intersecting waters of the Katsura, Uji and Kizu rivers and the perfect degree of humidity for the ageing of whisky.