I've noticed every now and again, how Aussies will often buy some scotch whisky duty free, so they can drink it while skiing/snowboarding in Japan..... However, many people know that it's a waste of time, as it's often just cheaper in the supermarket in Japan!!!! A few of them know that a lot of Japanese whisky is good, but even less know that some Japanese whisky is extremely good!!!! From Wikipedia: "The model for Japanese whiskies is the single malt Scotch, although there are also examples of Japanese blended whiskies. The base is a mash of malted barley, dried in kilns fired with a little peat (although considerably less than in Scotland), and distilled using the pot still method. For some time exports of Japanese whisky suffered from the belief in the West that whisky made in the Scotch style, but not produced in Scotland, was inferior, and until fairly recently, the market for Japanese whiskies was almost entirely domestic. In recent years, Japanese whiskies have won prestigious international awards and now enjoy a reputation as a high quality product." Here is an Aussie site dedicated to Japanese Whisky. http://nonjatta.blogspot.com.au/ Here is the intro: Japan is the second biggest producer of single malt whisky in the world. It has been taking top prizes in international tastings since 2001. At the 2008 World Whisky Awards, Japan underlined its arrival on the world scene by scooping both of the top prizes - the best single malt whisky in the world and the best blended whisky in the world. In the 2011 and 2012 awards, it did the same, again leaving the best distilleries from the rest of the world to scrabble for the minor prizes. Another good site: http://www.japanesewhisky.net/japanese-whisky-distilleries.html The thing is, those in the know will still only buy the well known ones, such as Yoichi 10yo or 12yo, I guess because they're not sure what else to buy. As a general rule of thumb a lot of people buy Scotch by price in a duty free(if they don't know their whisky), but in Japan this is not necessarily a good indicator of quality. e.g. A relatively rare but unknown Japanese whisky may be cheap because it is relatively rare & unknown!!!!!! For example, there is distillery in Nagano Prefecture, that restarted production in 2011, called Shinshu Mars Distillery. It's located in Miyata village, near the town of Komagane, but 30km from Suwa on the Chuo expressway. They've just started selling whisky recently, and you can get 750ml bottles of "Mars Iwai Tradition Wine cask finish" for 2000 yen, and there's a production only 2495 bottles!!!! The strange name is because they are finished for the last year in ex red wine casks!!! Japanese whisky matures more quickly and scotch whisky, because there is a larger variation in temperature in Japan. My brother is an absolute connoisseur of whisky, and if you take a look around his place, he has around 200 bottles!!!! Every now and again at my place in Japan, a courier turns up, and I sign for it..... It turns out to be a bottle of whisky that my brother has ordered and had sent to my, because you just can't get them in Australia or get them sent there from Japan. (or else you pay through the nose with one place that sells Japanese Whisky, I tink from Adelaide) I have 3 bottles sitting in my cupboard waiting to be taken back to Australia, the next time I visit in August!!!! One is a cheap (1500yen) bottle called "White Oak, Single malt Akashi". The other two are: Suntory 'The Owner's Cask' 1995, bottle 55 of 174, single cask whisky Chichibu Distillery "Ichiro's Malt Port Pipe" 1999, 61% by vol. Single malt. Not sure how much the last two were, but the Owner's cask looks expensive!!!!