Japan’s regulations on what can be “Japanese” Whiskey

Alcohol has been a part of human culture and human civilization. As wine, which has such a rich history dating back to 2500 B.C. and coming all the way to 2021, it’s no doubt how it was able to persist. The rich aromas, all changes on the kind of wood the barrel is made with changes the aroma when it’s mature is an amazing aspect to wine making.

Alongside wine, whiskey is also one of the little wonders where the aroma changes with the type of wood. The process is long yet the reward is great. Watching the maturing process closely and creating a great batch of whiskey.

Japanese Whiskey


Whiskey was originally known to be very popular in America but Japanese whiskey came into the scene and took it by storm. It’s no surprise as Japanese whiskey is surprisingly smooth with intricate aromas yet a certain finesse to it. 

As Japanese whiskey is gaining popularity across the world, a newly formed government-approved Japan Spirits & Liqueurs Makers Association was created to regulate and standardize the do’s and don’ts. The created guidelines are created not only for the protection of the producers but also the consumers. This is to prevent from being tricked into purchasing counterfeit products. 

It’s stated in the requirements that Japanese whiskey is to use “raw ingredients must be limited to malted grains, other cereal grains, and water extracted in Japan. Malted grains must always be used,” with only plain caramel coloring allowed. With a production method stating “saccharification, fermentation, and distillation must be carried out at a distillery in Japan. Alcohol content at the time of distillation must be less than 95 percent.”

While aging requires “the distilled product must be poured into wooden casks not exceeding a capacity of 700 liters and matured in Japan for a period of at least three years thereafter.” And “bottling must take place only in Japan, with an alcoholic strength of at least 40 percent at such time.”

The association also is very particular with the labeling as those that doesn’t meet it are not able to feature “names of people that evoke Japan,” “names of Japanese cities, regions, and famous places as well as mountain and rivers,” “Japanese flag or Japanese era name” and “any labeling that makes it seem like the whiskey satisfies the Japanese whiskey production requirements.”

The new regulations will be effective once April 1 comes and it’s good news to us whiskey drinkers, as we are able to put our peace in a quality bottle of Japanese Whiskey.