For years, Japanese whisky has mystified and intrigued Westerners. As a category, it has frequently been measured in comparison to Scotch, rather than American bourbon or rye, but more pure and clean-tasting. In 2014, Jim Murray, one of the foremost whisk(e)y critics in the world, named the Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2013 the best whisky in the world, arguing that it represented a peak in whisky making that “no Scotch at the moment can go near.” Just one problem: the cost barrier to entry. In the US market, the affordable Japanese whiskies are comparable in price to many top-shelf Scotches and American whiskies. That is, until Suntory’s release of Toki, a blend from its Hakushu, Yamazaki and Chita distilleries, with notes of vanilla, citrus and apple. It’s gentle, distinctly Japanese, and perhaps shines best in a stirred highball. But the best part about Toki is that it costs about $35. As such, it’s the first Japanese whisky many Americans can actually purchase.
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