The Top Japanese Whiskies Under $200

The demand for Japanese whisky has increased in recent years making it hard to find beloved bottles without taking out a small loan. But there are still favorites out there to be had. We suggest you pick up while you can!
Aug 13, 2019
  • 11
    With Japan experiencing shortages of aged malt whisky, many Japanese brands like the Nikka have opted to replace their range with no-age-statement variants. Launched Stateside in September 2016, Yoichi Single Malt is a peated single malt that replaces the beloved aged expressions of the same line: Yoichi 10, 12, 15, and 20 that have been discontinued. Distilled from malted barley and aged using a variety of casks including new American oak and ex-sherry casks, it is bottled at 45% ABV.
  • 10
    Fruity & Sweet
    It was inevitable that shortages of mature stock would lead to new releases sans the age statement, like this one from Nikka Whisky Distilling Company in Japan. Miyagikyo Single Malt was launched Stateside in September 2016 along with Yoichi Single Malt, made at Nikka's other distillery. Miyagikyo Distillery is located in the Miyagi Prefecture, northeast of Honshu, where the fresh waters of the Nikkawa and Hirose rivers meet. Mostly unpeated barley is used at the distillery, though this single malt contains a portion of slightly peated malt. Casks of sherry, new American oak, ex-bourbon oak, and others were utilized for maturation. It's bottled at 45% ABV.
  • 9
    From the Kumamoto Prefecture on the island of Kyushu in Japan, the Ohishi Sherry Cask is a whisky distilled from rice and aged in first and second-fill sherry casks. The Ohishi Distillery uses at least 30% gohyakumanishi rice grown on its own fields, rounded out with mochi rice Kumamoto. Founded in 1872, this is one of the oldest distilleries in Japan, located on the banks of the Kuma River, a water source that is prized for its purity.
  • 8
    Floral & Herbal
    Set to release in the summer of 2015, Japanese Harmony is the newest addition to the Hibiki lineup. It's a blended whisky representing a new foray into a younger, NAS expression, while it still utilizing many of the same whiskies from the original Hibiki blend. The largest component by volume is a cask-strength grain whisky from the Chita distillery. Other components include malt whiskies aged in a range of casks, including American white oak, ex-sherry, and Japanese Mizunara, along with a sparingly incorporated smoky, Islay-style whisky touted as the blend's "hidden player".
  • 7
    Launched in 2015 by Soh Spirits (owned by Ann Soh Woods), Kikori Whiskey is produced in Kumamoto, on the island of Kyushu in Japan, and distilled from 100% rice. It is aged at least 3 years in a combination of American oak, French limousin, and Spanish sherry casks.
  • 6
    Sweet & Full Bodied
    Suntory Whisky Toki is a blend of selected malt and grain whiskies from the Hakushu, Yamazaki, and Chita distilleries. Unlike their previous blended expressions that focus on malt from Yamazaki as the key component, Toki highlights Hakushu malt aged in American oak and balances that with grain whisky from Chita distillery. Single malts from Yamazaki that have aged in American and Spanish oak complement the blend.
  • 5
    Rich & Full Bodied
    Nikka follows up its Coffey Single Grain Whisky with a Coffey Malt Whisky. Both were distilled in Coffey stills at their Miyagikyo distillery. In this case, the mash bill is 100% malt. However, even though the whisky was distilled at one distillery, it is technically not a single malt. That category must be distilled in pot-stills. This product was released in 2014 in European markets and the US as of May 2016.
  • 4
    Sweet & Rich
    Grain whiskies are the base for most blended whiskies throughout the world. Nikka has decided to use the column still (aka Coffey still) rather than the more modern continuous stills to retain more character to their final product. It is quite unusual, however, to bottle and sell this product instead of using it for blending. The grains used here are primarily corn with a splash of barley.
  • 3
    Rich & Sweet
    The 12 year Single Cask releases from Fukano are rice whiskeys aged for 12 years in new charred oak and bottled at cask strength. The releases draw from eight different casks, so the proof may vary slightly from bottle to bottle.
  • 2
    Rich & Fruity
    When a malt whisky and a grain whisky come of age, leave the casks they’ve called home, and fall in love, they get “married” - the process of blending and re-casking whisky. It’s a complex wedding for a master distiller to arrange but can ultimately lead to marital bliss in the form of this whisky from Nikka that only comes in 500ml bottles. Nikka From The Barrel is drawn from a blend of more than 100 different batches of malt and grain whisky produced at the brand's Yoichi and Miyagikyo distilleries. Note: This will be made available in the US as of June 2018 in 750ml sized bottles.
  • 1
    Fruity & Sweet
    The Hakushu Distillery is one of three owned by Suntory. Located in northern Japan in the forests of Mt Kai Komagatake this is a peated whisky, but it is one comprised of different whiskies produced at the same distillery. The components are a non-peated whisky aged in American oak, a non-peated whisky aged in ex-sherry/Spanish Oak, and a peated whisky aged in American oak. As such, the peat level goes down to a mild 7-9 ppm. Note: Announced in 2018, this product will be discontinued in some markets at some point beginning in 2019 with limited availability in the next few years.