Whiskey imports from unexpected places are increasing in Japan to cover the shortage of Japanese-made spirits caused by the growing popularity of highballs.
In autumn last year, shoppers seeking “seibo” year-end gifts were surprised to find “whiskey from Taiwan” at a Japanese and foreign liquor section of the Kintetsu department store in Osaka’s Abeno Ward.
A 700-milliliter bottle of Taiwanese Kavalan single malt whiskey was available for at least 4,500 yen ($41.50), excluding tax.
In Scotland, the homeland of the spirit, whisky is said to require at least three-year maturing periods. That type of alcoholic drink is produced in Hokkaido and other cold areas in Japan.
In Taiwan, located in a subtropical zone, whiskey matures “three to four times faster than in Scotland due to its hot climate,” according to Osaka-based Itochu-Shokuhin Co., which imports Kavalan, an emerging whiskey brand in Japan.