In Japanese Toki means ‘time’ and the adage goes in time everything comes back around. In a market obsessed with single malts Japanese Whisky is an ongoing example of the relevance and power of blends. Since importing whisky making from Scotland nearly a century ago distillers in Japan have been breaking down the individual components of the craft and reassembling them into works of art. Through them more disparaged styles, like grain whisky or blends, have taken a front row seat next to their single malt brethren. And they’re holding their own. This quality and craftsmanship hasn’t gone unnoticed which has lead to a massive boom in popularity. Which is great, because you can never have enough good whisky. But it’s also terrible because it’s becoming increasingly hard to find and holy hell look at that price tag!
Hoping to fill that gap is the Suntory Toki. Made by the same folks behind Hibiki, Yamazaki and Hakshu. And in fact, the component distilleries are the same as those that make up the Hibiki style blend. These are the Yamazaki and Hakushu distilleries as well as the Chita distillery, which you’ve probably never heard of. Relatively unknown in the West, Chita is the Grain Whisky distillery that is traditionally used to accent the malts produced in the Yamazaki distillery. In the Toki, however, the Chita’s ‘heavy type’ grain whisky takes center stage along with Hakushu malt aged in American white oak. They are then supported by two different Yamazaki Malts: an American Oak malt and a Spanish oak malt. All of the traditional components are there.
The result is an incredibly light whisky. Rich pear, apple and a green fruit, with a light oak presence and almost no edge. It’s incredibly approachable but not any where close to reaching the haloed status of its older siblings. But not everything needs to be a living legend. Sometimes you just want a damn good highball and there is nothing wrong with that.