Japanese whisky is produced in Japan and is more similar to Scotch whisky styles than other major regional styles of whisky. Two men influenced the development of Japanese whisky: Shinjiro Torii and Masataka Taketsuru. Shinjiro Torii was a pharmaceutical, and he is the founder of the first Japan distillery, Yamazaki, in the Kyoto suburb, founded in 1923, which later become the famous Suntory. Masataka Taketsuru had studied the art of distilling in Scotland, and Torii hired him as Yamazaki executive with the desire to bring the Scotland distilling knowledge to Japan. Taketsuru played a key role in developing the Yamazaki Distillery in making Japanese whisky. In 1934 Taketsuru left Yamazaki Distillery to pursue his dream, and he founded the Yoichi distillery on Hokkaido, which later changed to Nikka. Suntory and Nikka still dominate the Japanese whiskey industry. While the Japanese whisky may have a lot of similarity with the Scotland whiskey, the distilleries have employed different techniques in production whiskeys of their own identity. Today, Japanese whisky has fast developed increasingly becoming popular in its own unique style of whiskey.
Japan produces both blended and single malt whiskeys. The most popular Japanese blended whiskey is Suntory kakubin and Black Nikka Clear though they also offer many limited editions and special bottling. The unique style of Japanese whisky is attributed to the way their blended whisky is produced. In Scotland, the blending materials may involve malt whisky from several distilleries, which may be owned by different companies. However, in Japan, the industry is vertically integrated. This means whisky companies do not trade with their competitors, meaning the Japanese blended whiskey contains malt whisky only from the distilleries owned by that same company. Japanese whiskey is remarkable for its exceptional styles. The use of distinct Japanese mizunara oak, the peated/unpeated barley, different yeast strains, and fermentations give the Japanese whisky the character and quality they are lauded for. Japanese single malts and blended whisky offer the world a distinctive whiskey from, smooth, light to smoky style.