Yamazaki is Japan’s first and oldest distillery and has been producing whiskey for nearly a century. Situated just outside Kyoto and owned by Suntory, Yamazaki was inspired by Scotch but only goes so far with that inspiration before setting out on its own distinctive path. The whiskey is very much a product of its locality, infused with unique character. They don’t mess around, in other words.
Auchentoshan is the only triple distilled single malt in Scotland, more time consuming and costly than the regular double distillation. This process is supposed to create a more complex flavor while at the same time being gentler than the high alcohol concentration might suggest. They also have a cream liqueur that’s exclusive to their distillery. If it’s anything like Mrs. Walker’s Drumgray Highland Cream Liqueur, then it would be worth a trip and tour regardless what the rest of the offerings were like. Auchentoshan is also one of the few lowland distilleries still operating in Scotland, making its exploration near a requirement. Oddly enough, the Classic is not currently listed on their website, so it may be in the process of being rebranded (as the Classic is a rebranding in 2008 of their Select).