The 11 Best Japanese Whisky
Under $150

“Whiskey and ice and everything nice…” 

What Makes Japanese Whisky Differ from the Rest?

While it’s unique enough to have a whiskey be from Japan, what will shock you is that it’s not its origins that make it stand out amongst the rest. Instead, it’s the distillation process…

First, the humid and mild Japanese climate makes for an ideal location for ageing whiskey. Unlike most regions like Scotland and Ireland that are year-round in their production, Japanese whisky is seasonal. 

Second, many Japanese distilleries use natural spring water and rice for their production. This, in large part, is why many Japanese whiskies boast a distinct yet refreshing taste.

Finally, in addition to its use of natural spring water and rice during the distillation process, most Japanese whiskies are distilled not once but twice, with some being distilled up to four times! 

For these reasons and more is what makes Japanese whisky differ from the rest. Thanks to its unique distillation process and production techniques, Japanese whisky produces incredibly bold, rich, elegant, yet smooth spirits, most suitable for all palates.

The 11 Best Japanese Whisky Under $150

So, we’ve been through the best Japanese whiskies under $50 and the best ones under $100… Now, it’s time to tackle the $150 price point.

While I understand that this list will only be applicable to a select population who can afford it or who simply choose to indulge, it’s an important list to know. Why? Who knows, it may turn out to be a helpful gift-giving idea one day, or better yet, a celebratory gift-to-yourself! 

While there are a couple of crossovers from the $100 list, it’s only because I couldn’t not include them. Some of the ones on this list of the best Japanese whiskies under $150 are just undeniably great.

Related: Best Whiskey Cocktails

Let’s jump right into it.

Below are the Top 11 Japanese Whiskies Under $150:

  • Hibiki Suntory Whisky
  • Nikka Single Malt Yoichi 
  • Togouchi Premium Blend
  • Fukano 10-Year 
  • Nikka “From the Barrel” Whisky
  • Yamakazi 12-Year
  • Akashi Single Malt Whisky
  • Mars Komagatake Single Malt Japanese Whisky 
  • Mars Asagi Madara 8-Year Blended Whisky
  • Kaiyo Japanese Whisky 
  • The Matsui Single Malt Sakura Whisky 

Hibiki Harmony Suntory Whisky

The Whiskey: Blended
The Distillery: ABV: 43%
Price: $84.99

Produced by the likes of Suntory distillery, a world-renowned Japanese house of whisky, Hibiki Harmony is an internationally-respected whisky praised for all that is good about it. While the version of harmony discussed is the most affordable, Suntory offers an entire line of Hibiki blends aged up to 30 years! As you can imagine, it begins to become quite pricey…

If you want to get your hands on Suntory royalty without damaging your wallet, Hibiki Harmony Blend is the way to go; a great bang for your buck, to say the least.

Tasting Notes:
It begins with a nose of fresh herbs, rosemary, and wood, followed by an intersection of sweet honey and orange. To finish, the subtle nature of oak, more specifically Minunara oak cleanses the palate. 

Nikka Single Malt Yoichi 

The Whiskey: Single Malt
The Distillery: ABV: 45%
Price: $99.99

Launched only a few years ago in 2016, Nikka Yoichi Single Malt has found a way to capture the authenticity of ancient Japanese culture while incorporating a modern twist to its flavors. 

Presenting an all-around balanced whisky comprising all of the familiar notes a typical whiskey would (smoke, peat, wood, vanilla), this Japanese whisky is one for the books. If you can get your hand on it, you’re in for a treat! 

Tasting Notes:
On the nose, it’s fruity and bright, with hints of orange and lemon. On the palate, it’s sweet and savory, with hints of vanilla and floral. As for the finish, its long and full-bodied texture provides its consumers with a fresh and salty palate, both earthy and coastal.

Togouchi Premium Blend

The Whiskey: Blended
The Distillery: ABV: 40%
Price: $99.99+

Uniquely using Canadian and Scottish grains, this premium blend whisky mirrors that of scotch while also successfully paying homage to its Japanese roots. Distilled near Hiroshima, the Togouchi Premium Blend Japanese whisky is as authentic as they come, boasting a history that resides in the story of aged whisky in an abandoned railway tunnel. 

Tasting Notes:
Light smoke, vanilla sweetness, and spicy pepper stand out the most in this mildly-bodied, though you’ll be treated to a savory ending. 

Fukano 10-Year 

The Whiskey: Single Cask Rice Whisky
The Distillery: ABV: 41%
Price: $99.99

While some may oppose the authenticity of koji whisky, Fukano does a great job in proving those of that belief wrong. As an experiential spirit since its inception, tested in different aged barrels until it achieved perfection, the 10-year variation of Fukano whisky has most certainly achieved such perfection! 

Made with malted rice, the difference in taste compared to a traditional whisky is noticeable, but in a good way. With an elegant flavour, complex aromas, yet simple fruity taste, the Fukano 10-year is amongst the best in my opinion. 

Tasting Notes:
Floral and fruity to the nose, mild on the palate, and more fruity, floral, and caramel notes on the finish, the Fukano 10-year makes for a great whisky for all levels. 

Nikka “From the Barrel” Whisky

The Whiskey: Blended Malt & Grain
The Distillery: ABV: 51.4%
Price: $49.99 – $99.99 (price ranges greatly)

Nikka’s “From the Barrel” Japanese whisky is arguably the most westernized, inspired deeply by America’s favorite; bourbon. If you’re a fan of bourbon, you can bet that you’ll be a fan of this one. If you have a cocktail party coming up, this is the bottle to pick up, perfect for a classic Old Fashion among other popular cocktails. 

With enough body to be enjoyed both neat, on the rocks, or in a cocktail, Nikka ‘From the Barrel’ is arguably the most versatile of the bunch. Beware, however, for its 51.4% ABV is nothing to play with!

Tasting Notes:
As a full-bodied, rich spirit, Nikka ‘From the Barrel’ offers complex beginnings of tobacco and spice, with finishes more smooth such as dried fruits and toffee.

Yamakazi 12-Year

The Whiskey: Single Malt
The Distillery: ABV: 43%
Price: $149.99+

As we’ve discussed before, Suntory is arguably one of the most popular Japanese whisky brands on the market today. Well, their flagship product is the Yamakazi 12-year, and for good reason! 

Wonderfully elegant and smooth, this 12-year whisky doesn’t lack substance. While it may have a cult-like following, it’s well justified. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), you’ll have to lay down the investment to find out. 

Tasting Notes:
Plentiful in nuts and oak, zesty with citrus and tropical fruit, and surprises the palate with a familiar tongue of rum. Medium-bodied, this whisky is a great option for all palates. 

Akashi Single Malt Whisky

The Whiskey: Single Malt
The Distillery: ABV: 46%
Price: $124.99

If you’re looking for a truly authentic Japanese whisky that won’t break the bank and that offers an experience to that of an expensive, top-of-the-line whisky, Akashi Single Malt is the way to go. Providing a scotch-like flavour profile, the notes exposed are truly enjoyable.

This bottle is so respected, in fact, that it’s often compared to the likes of Suntory’s Yamazaki and other Mars series whiskies! See for yourself, I promise you’ll be delighted. 

Tasting Notes:
Bringing in some initial peat, however, masked by smoke and notes of fruit and spice. Other notes include vanilla, sweet sherry, chestnut, and citrus. An overall medium-bodied spirit.

Enjoyed both neat, on the rocks, or in a cocktail, you truly can’t go wrong here, for its versatility is unmatched. Beware, however, for its 51.4% ABV is nothing to play with!

Tasting Notes:
As a full-bodied, rich spirit, Nikka ‘From the Barrel’ offers complex beginnings of tobacco and spice, with finishes more smooth such as dried fruits and toffee.

Mars Komagatake Single Malt  

The Whiskey: Single Malt
The Distillery: ABV: 50%
Price: $149.99+

As a limited edition bottle by Mars, you can expect a hefty investment in order to get your hands on it. So is it worth it? Heck yes. As a bourbon and American white oak cask-type, it makes sense why its popularity is growing in western societies.

Withstanding the price, it’s also important to take note of the ABV% of 50%. Not many whiskies have this level of ABV, so be careful when you’re sipping away…

Tasting Notes:
Here’s what you can expect…Malt, citrus, fruit in a refreshing yet slightly smokey texture. Creamy, warm, and sweet, the finale of the sip is mildly intense, however, satisfying and certainly not overpowering.

Mars Asagi Madara 8-Year Blended Whisky

The Whiskey: Blended
The Distillery: ABV: 48%
Price: $134.99

Similar to Mars’ Komagatake, the Asagi Madara 8-year is also a limited edition, limited release 2020 series that may or may not be reintroduced and reproduced in the coming years. If you can get your hands on this bottle, you’re a lucky soul!

Medium, long, and dry, this limited series bottle may not be for everyone. For those with a developed palate, however, you’re likely in for an experience like no other. Sip slow, my friends…

Tasting Notes:
Its nose offers aromas of smoked citrus and peanut, with light scents of rum. Its taste is peachy, with additional compliments of strawberry and mint. Finally, its finish begins bitter but ends with sweetness.

The Matsui Single Malt Sakura Whisky

The Whiskey: Single Malt
The Distillery: ABV: 48%
Price: $104.99

Coming from the foothills of Mount Daisen, The Matsui Single Malt Sakura is as authentic as they come. Notwithstanding its incredible flavour profile and more than reasonable price, what I love most about this bottle is its packaging. While I can’t begin to describe it with words, its label and box is a work of Japanese art; just beautiful. 

Tasting Notes:
A nutty nose full of almond, sawdust, and a touch or citrus fruit, a palate comprising baking spices, and a finish that comes at you hot but serenades you with vanilla sweetness. 

Kaiyo Japanese Whisky 

The Whiskey: Single Malt
The Distillery: ABV: 53%
Price: $112.99

Yes, you read that right…The Kaiyo Japanese Whisky boasts a 53% ABV%. While it may not be moonshine, it’s pretty close to it! With that said, you’d be shocked to know that its taste doesn’t come off as stiff. Instead, its palate is quite practical, giving off familiar tastes of wood, oak, and vanilla. There is, however, a level of peat that may not be for the faint of heart. 

The Kaiyo Japanese Whisky is beginning to give Suntory’s line a run for its money, making for some stiff (no pun intended) competition across the board. It’s what I like to see, for the more competition, the better each gets. It’s likely why Japanese whisky is soaring internationally at the moment. 

Tasting Notes:
With a finish comprising cinnamon and mango, this spirit is a dessert in and of itself. As for the nose, expect orange peel, hints of cedar, and refreshing air-like quality to it. 

That’s a wrap!

My own vetted list of the top 11 BEST Japanese whiskies on the market today. 

If you’ve teased your palate with Japanese whisky, I’d love to hear about your experience. What bottle did you buy? What were the pros? The cons?

Related: Best Japanese whiskies Under $50

I can’t wait to hear all about it and if you haven’t tried all of them yet, well, what are you waiting for?

Stay Gold! 

About Todd Smidt

Todd is a man of simple tastes: traveling, words, whiskey, & dad jokes. He enjoys first-rate banter, long walks along the coast, High West, and Vonnegut. He spends his free time traveling the world, drinking whiskey, and writing about it.

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