Nikka Whisky History:
The Miyagikyo Distillery is owned by the Nikka Whisky company. The story of Nikka Whisky and indeed that of Japanese whisky begins with a remarkable man called Masataka Taketsuru, famously known as the father of Japanese whisky. Born in 1894 to a family of saké producers, Taketsuru was working for an Osaka based spirits manufacturer called Settsu Shuzo Company, when at the age of 25 he was chosen to travel to Scotland and try learn how to make proper Scotch whisky. Such was the appetite for Scotch whisky in Japan in those days, that this mission was regarded as critical. Arriving in Glasgow in April 1919, the young man set about door knocking the Speyside distilleries in the hope that someone would give him an apprenticeship. He was well received, and after stints at Longmorn, Bo’ness and Hazelburn he returned to Japan in 1920 newly married with a Scottish wife and armed with sufficient knowledge to start making proper Scotch style whisky.
In 1922 Masataka left Settsu Shuzo Company after their plan to make Scotch was abandoned and joined Suntory on a 10 year contract to establish the Yamazaki distillery. However, he always knew that to make whisky the way he wanted to he would have to become independent, and in 1934 he left Suntory to establish Nikka Whisky and built the Yoichi Distillery. The first Nikka Whisky was released 6 years later in 1940. Masataka Taketsuru would spend the rest of his life dedicated to honouring the development of whisky in Japan becoming known forever more as ‘the father of Japanese whisky’.