In order to wrap up 2018, we asked for your help in voting in our inaugural Japanese Whisky Customer’s Choice Awards. While we respect the many awards competitions around the globe, we wanted to let your voice be heard and give your favorite distillers the recognition they deserve. Thank you again to everyone who voted, it’s only with the support of the thousands of fans around the globe, like yourself, that Japanese Whisky can continue to grow.

Without further ado… The votes have been tallied and we’re happy to announce the winners of the 2018 Japanese Whisky Customer’s Choice Awards.

Essence of Suntory

Best Japanese Whisky Distillery Of 2018

Yamazaki — Winner

The Yamazaki distillery is Japans oldest commercial whisky distillery. It was opened by Shinjiro Torii, the founder of Suntory, in 1923 in Yamazaki on the outskirts of Kyoto, Japan’s ancient capital.

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Chichibu — 2nd Place

Chichibu distillery is small, with only nine full-time employees. It is owned by Venture Whisky which was founded in 2004 in Chichibu, Saitama, just outside of Tokyo, hence its name. The distillery, which specializes in single malt whisky, was the first whisky distillery built in Japan since the 1970s and became operational in 2008.

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Yoichi — 3rd Place

Nikka Yoichi distillery was opened in 1934 and is the first distillery created by Nikka founder and “Father of Japanese Whisky” Masataka Taketsuru.

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Best New Japanese Whisky Release of 2018

Hibiki Blender’s Choice — Winner

Stepping up the fill the gap left by Hibiki 17’s absence is the newly unveiled “Hibiki Blender’s Choice” release. The blend includes carefully selected vintages, married together by Suntory’s team of expert blenders. The addition of a few wine cask-aged whiskies in the blend delivers a round, well-balanced profile and immense depth.

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Kamiki — 2nd Place

Translated as ‘God’s Breath’ and named after the winds which descend from Mount Miwa in Nara, Kamiki is a modern blended whisky bound by the ancient traditions of Japan’s Kansai region. Carefully selected Japanese malt whiskies are blended with some of the finest malt whiskies from across the globe to create a smooth, deep, world blended expression. The next step sees the whisky fused with Japanese spring water and aged in Japanese wood.

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Ichiro’s Malt Chichibu The Peated 2018

Ichiro’s Malt Chichibu The Peated 2018 — 3rd Place

Chichibu distillery is a small distillery with only nine full-time employees. The distillery is owned by Venture whisky, which was founded in 2004 in Chichibu city, Saitama, just outside of Tokyo (hence its name). This particular Ichiro’s Malt Chichibu The Peated is a 2018 release presented in a 700ml regular bottle with box. As with everything else from the Chichibu distillery, it comes highly recommended.

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Best Japanese Single Malt

Yamazaki 18 Year Old Single Malt

Yamazaki 18 Year Old — Winner

This legendary Yamazaki release has been a frequent winner at global awards competitions, including Gold at the 2007 International Spirits Challenge and a Double Gold at the 2005 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. The increased recognition and global awareness for this famous release has resulted in diminished supplies while the distillery attempts to ramp up production to meet demand.

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yamazaki-25-landing

Yamazaki 25 Year Old — 2nd Place

The Yamazaki 25 is an elite bottle for those who demand only the best. Being a winner of the World Whisky Awards in 2012 for ‘Best Single Malt’, the Yamazaki 25 is a coveted and increasingly rare item. If you want to know what Suntory really is capable of when it comes to whisky, then you must try this!

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Yamazaki 12 Year Old — 3rd Place

One of the top selling Japanese Whisky releases that has put the industry on the map around the world. Even though it’s an introductory bottle, it’s still a quality release that offers the full experience that is Yamazaki.

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Best Japanese Blended Whisky

Hibiki 21 Year Old — Winner

The Hibiki 21 year old lies in the middle of Suntory’s Hibiki line, between the Hibiki 17 Year Old and Hibiki 30 Year Old releases. When blending the whisky the goal is to find harmony, or a delicate balance. This pursuit leads the master blender to choose the best combination of whiskies from across Suntory’s notable distilleries. This has taken centuries to perfect, but the result is a truly world-class bottle.

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Hibiki 17 Japanese Whisky for Holidays

Hibiki 17 Year Old — 2nd Place

One of the most recognizable bottles in Suntorys world renowned product line, the Hibiki 17 Year Old has been a staple among whisky enthusiasts for years. Fans were were shocked this year when Suntory announced that they would be discontinuing the highly acclaimed bottle.

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Kamiki Intense — 3rd Place

The Kamiki Intense builds upon the outstanding reputation of Kamiki’s existing range of blended Japanese Whisky. By spending additional time in the cask, the whisky exhibits a more intense taste of Japanese Cedar while still maintaining impeccable balance.

For Japanese Whisky fans looking to experience an expression with a more pronounced flavor of Japanese Cedar, this release is the perfect choice.

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Best Ji-Whisky

Kamiki — Winner

Translated as ‘God’s Breath’ and named after the winds which descend from Mount Miwa in Nara, Kamiki is a modern blended whisky bound by the ancient traditions of Japan’s Kansai region. Carefully selected Japanese malt whiskies are blended with some of the finest malt whiskies from across the globe to create a smooth, deep, world blended expression. The next step sees the whisky fused with Japanese spring water and aged in Japanese wood.

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Yamazakura 963, 21 Year Old — 2nd Place

This whisky began it’s journey at the historic Sasanokawa Shuzo distillery in Japan where each of the components in this top tier blended whisky were aged at least 21 years. The whisky is meticulously blended using a combination of single malt and grain whisky. Bottled at 58.00%, you’ll enjoy the mellow fragrance and complex flavor of this great bottle.

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Ichiros Malt & Grain ‘Japanese Blended Whisky’ Limited Edition 2018 — 3rd Place

Building on the classic white-label, Ichiro’s Malt and Grain is a gorgeous new limited edition bottle of the expression and one of the very first Chichibu releases in 2018. Made using malt whisky from Chichibu and grain whisky from abroad. This bottle was named “World’s Best Blended Limited Release” at the 2018 World Whiskies Awards.

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Best Bottle Design

Hibiki 21 Mt. Fuji Edition — Winner

What’s it like to stand atop Mount Fuji? We’re guessing if you had to bottle that feeling this is what it would taste like! This beautiful bottle is a stand out, if you appreciate Japanese Whisky this is one you’ll want to own! If you ever decide to open the bottle you’ll be greeted with one of our all-time favorite whiskies, the Hibiki 21. Beautiful presentation combined with fantastic whisky, this one is a win-win!

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Kamiki — 2nd Place

Translated as ‘God’s Breath’ and named after the winds which descend from Mount Miwa in Nara, Kamiki is a modern blended whisky bound by the ancient traditions of Japan’s Kansai region. Carefully selected Japanese malt whiskies are blended with some of the finest malt whiskies from across the globe to create a smooth, deep, world blended expression. The next step sees the whisky fused with Japanese spring water and aged in Japanese wood.

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Hibiki Harmony 30th Anniversary Edition

Hibiki Japanese Harmony Limited Edition 30th Anniversary — 3rd Place

Hibiki produce some of the finest whiskies in the world, never mind in Japan, and this Harmony Limited Edition 30th Anniversary release has to be up there with the best of them. The masterfully crafted whisky comes in a stunning specially designed bottle that features the patterns of a traditional kimono. It’s a truly gorgeous and deluxe whisky that is a must have for any fan of Hibiki.

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Best Overall Japanese Whisky

Yamazaki 18 Year Old Single Malt

Yamazaki 18 Year Old — Winner

This legendary Yamazaki release has been a frequent winner at global awards competitions, including Gold at the 2007 International Spirits Challenge and a Double Gold at the 2005 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. The increased recognition and global awareness for this famous release has resulted in diminished supplies while the distillery attempts to ramp up production to meet demand.

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Hibiki 21 Year Old — 2nd Place

The Hibiki 21 year old lies in the middle of Suntory’s Hibiki line, between the Hibiki 17 Year Old and Hibiki 30 Year Old releases. When blending the whisky the goal is to find harmony, or a delicate balance. This pursuit leads the master blender to choose the best combination of whiskies from across Suntory’s notable distilleries. This has taken centuries to perfect, but the result is a truly world-class bottle.

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yamazaki-25-landing

Yamazaki 25 Year Old — 3rd Place

The Yamazaki 25 is an elite bottle for those who demand only the best. Being a winner of the World Whisky Awards in 2012 for ‘Best Single Malt’, the Yamazaki 25 is a coveted and increasingly rare item. If you want to know what Suntory really is capable of when it comes to whisky, then you must try this!

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