In 1918, Masataka Taketsuru embarked alone on a long voyage to Scotland. He enrolled at the University of Glasgow and became the first Japanese ever to study the art of whisky making. In 1920 he returned to Japan with Jessie Roberta (Rita), whom he had married earlier that year. Masataka's vision of whisky was formed by his experience in Scotland, and he knew the right environment was essential. However, it was becoming apparent that in order to produce whisky as he felt it had to be, he would have to become independent.
Thus in 1934 Masataka established Nikka Whisky, and built its first distillery in Yoichi, Hokkaido, which he had always considered to be the ideal site in Japan for whisky-making, similar in many ways to the Scottish town where he had studied.
Yoichi produces rich, peaty and masculine malt. The whisky gets its distinct aroma and body from direct heating distillation, in which the pot stills are heated with finely powdered natural coal - the traditional method that is hardly ever used today, even in Scotland.Show more