When you think of whiskey, you probably think – Ireland, Scotland, America, Canada… Probs not thinking Japan.

But if you ask serious whiskey connoisseurs, they may surprise you by saying Japan is striving to bear the crown. In fact, they’ve been working at it for decades.

So why not dive into the world of Japanese whiskey… They’ve got a unique take on a very old libation.

Another incredible whiskey fact:

In 2015, the Suntory distillery sent six samples of whiskey and other alcohols to the International Space Station to test the effects zero gravity and temperature control environments have on distillation. Specifically, they want to see if space whiskey is more or less “mellow” than Earth whiskey.

Yes, there is whiskey floating around in space right now. Could be the beginning of real-life Cowboy Bebop…

Surprisingly, they’re not the first to launch whiskey into space. Back in 2011, US researchers sent whiskey samples into space from for 4 years, also for quality testing. The results of either study haven’t been published yet, but we’re all waiting patiently.

In the meantime, you can try several Japanese whiskies on land. Well… depending on whether your country imports the goods. Here’s a few you’ll likely be able to track down:

Suntory Hibiki Japanese Harmony

Japan’s oldest distillery and the fathers of “Japanese-style” whiskey. A bottle of this isn’t terribly hard to find, but will set you back $70-$90. Tastes fruity and oaky. Lil’ chocolate in there too.

Nikka Taketsuru Pure Malt

This distillery has been working on their blend since 1934. You might or might not be able to find this brand – it’s lesser known that others. Costs $70-$90. Tastes like dried fruit and smoke.

Suntory Toki

Suntory’s lower-priced whiskey, meant to compete with more affordable brands in American markets. Easy to find in North America, likely Europe too. Costs $40. Tastes lighter, like green apple and basil with a little spice.

Kikori

Kikori uses a grain/rice mixture in distillation, begging the question, “Is this even whiskey?” I say yes! Costs $55. Tastes a little nutty, with vanilla and caramel.

That should keep you drunk, er, busy for awhile. Find your fav and share with everyone in the comments!

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Top image: YouTube/The Blend Australia