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Japanese whiskey line up at Sushi Taro
Japanese whiskey line up at Sushi Taro
Sushi Taro/Facebook

15 Places to Try Asian Whiskey

Want award-winning, Scotch-influenced whiskey? Look to Asia.

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Japanese whiskey line up at Sushi Taro
| Sushi Taro/Facebook

In the last several years, Scotch-style whiskies from Asia have risen to prominence. And many whiskey lovers were taken by surprise last year when Jim Murray named Suntory's Yamazaki Single Malt Sherry Cask 2013 the best in the world in his 2015 World Whisky Bible.

Some might be most familiar with Japanese whiskey from Bill Murray's Suntory commercials in the film Lost in Translation. And while the company distills its own branded whiskey, its holdings of Hakushu, Hibiki, and Yamazaki have made it a dominant force in the Japanese whiskey market.

And Japan is not the only country in Asia whose whiskey is attracting international recognition. In 2010, Murray named Indian distillery Amrut's Fusion whiskey (made from Indian and Scottish barley) the third best in the world. Meanwhile, Taiwanese distillery, Kavalan, had its Solist Vinho Barrique named the world's best single malt whiskey during the 2015 Whiskey Awards.

Along with Scotch-style whiskey, Taiwan also produces kaoliang, a wheat- and sorghum-based whiskey that is in the family of Chinese baijiu. Clear and high-proof, it's often consumed straight as a shot.

With increasing worldwide interest and demand for whiskey, not only from the U.S., but also from China, driving up prices and cutting into availability, these Asian whiskies can provide a good alternative to Scottish whiskies. And there are plenty of places in D.C. to learn about and try a number of these options from Asia.

Editor's Note: This story has been corrected and updated to better reflect Suntory's relationship to its other distilleries.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Boundary Stone Public House

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116 Rhode Island Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20001
(202) 621-6635
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Among its diverse list of whiskeys, Boundary Stone features five Japanese whiskeys. Find expressions from Hibiki, Nikka and Yamazaki.

2. Bourbon

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2321 18th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
(202) 332-0800
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Along with a large selection of other whiskeys, Bourbon features options from three Japanese distilleries. Find two expressions from Yamazaki, two from Nikka, and one from Suntory.

3. BOURBON STEAK DC

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2800 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20007
(202) 944-2026
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For a diverse selection of whiskeys from Asia, look to Bourbon Steak. Find two Japanese whiskeys – Chibubu "The First" and The Yamazaki 18 year, two Taiwanese selections – Kavalan concert master and King Car conductor, and one option from India – Amrut "Fusion" Indian-scotch whiskey.

4. Crane & Turtle

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828 Upshur St NW
Washington, D.C. 20011
(202) 723-2543
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To complement the French-Japanese cuisine of Crane & Turtle, there are seven Japanese whiskies on the menu. Find three Hibiki, two Nikka, one Hakushu, and two Yamazaki options. The restaurant has also hosted Japanese whiskey popups from Bar Otsukare.

5. Daikaya

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705 6th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20001
(202) 589-1600
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The izakaya's Japanese whiskey is more than meets the eye. Though the menu shows seven expressions of Nikka, one of Hakushu, one of Yamazaki, and one of Hibiki, the bar has one-off bottles for those who know to ask.

6. Izakaya Seki

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1117 V St NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
(202) 588-5841
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At Izakaya Seki, find Japanese whiskies to accompany sushi and other delicate grilled items. Find two expressions of Hibiki, two of Yamazaki, and four of Nikka. Try them neat or on the rocks. They can be ordered as a highball, but co-owner Cizuka Seki says the whiskies are too good to be drunk that way.

7. Jack Rose Dining Saloon

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2007 18th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
(202) 588-7388
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At Jack Rose, find eight expressions of Amrut whiskey from India and three Japanese whiskies – one Hibiki and two Yamazaki single malts.

8. Maketto

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1351 H St NE
Washington, D.C. 20002
(202) 838-9972
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In a nod to Chef Erik Bruner-Yang's Taiwanese roots, Maketto serves Taiwanese whiskies. Find a selection of three Kavalan Scotch-style whiskies, as well as kaoliang. Also find India's Amrut Fusion.

9. Raku

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3312 Wisconsin Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20016
Along with a broad array of shochu and sake, find a selection of eight Japanese whiskeys. Find two options from Yamazaki, three from Nikka, two from Hibiki, and one from Hakushu.

10. Rasika West End

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1190 New Hampshire Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20037
(202) 466-2500
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The West End location offers four expressions from the distiller Amrut, as well as an option for a flight to try them all. There's the Fusion (distilled from Scottish and Indian barley), a single malt cask strength, a peated selection, and another aged in bourbon and sherry casks.

11. Sushi Taro

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1503 17th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20036
(202) 462-8999
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Sushi Taro offers 10 Japanese whiskey options. It includes two blended options from Hibiki, three single malts from Yamazaki, four options from Nikka, and one from Hakushu.

12. The Source by Wolfgang Puck

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575 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20565
(202) 637-6100
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Along with hot pot and dumplings, find six expressions of Japanese whiskey. Find selections from Hibiki, Nikka and Yamazaki.

13. Toki Underground

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1234 H St NE
Washington, D.C. 20002
(202) 388-3086
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To go with ramen, find four expressions of Nikka, one of Hakushu, one of Hibiki, and two of Yamasaki. Not found anywhere else in D.C. they also serve Ichiro's Malt, the product of one of Japan's newest whiskey distilleries, Chichibu.

14. Zentan

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1155 14th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20005
(202) 379-4366
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Zentan serves Japanese whiskies from Hakushu, Hibiki, Nikka, and Yamazaki. They can be ordered individually, or they can be tasted in two different flight options. One is a selection of three whiskies aged 12 years, to show the differences between distilling processes. The other is a selection of single malts from Suntory – two from the Yamazaki distillery in the south, and one from Hakushu, further north.

15. Barrel

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613 Pennsylvania Ave SE
Washington, D.C. 20003
(202) 543-3622
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Barrel focuses on "brown water" as it is listed on the menu. And among the bourbons and American whiskies, find Japanese and Taiwanese expressions from Nikka, Yoichi, Hibiki, Yamazaki, and Kavalan.

1. Boundary Stone Public House

116 Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20001
Among its diverse list of whiskeys, Boundary Stone features five Japanese whiskeys. Find expressions from Hibiki, Nikka and Yamazaki.
116 Rhode Island Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20001

2. Bourbon

2321 18th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20009
Along with a large selection of other whiskeys, Bourbon features options from three Japanese distilleries. Find two expressions from Yamazaki, two from Nikka, and one from Suntory.
2321 18th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20009

3. BOURBON STEAK DC

2800 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C. 20007
For a diverse selection of whiskeys from Asia, look to Bourbon Steak. Find two Japanese whiskeys – Chibubu "The First" and The Yamazaki 18 year, two Taiwanese selections – Kavalan concert master and King Car conductor, and one option from India – Amrut "Fusion" Indian-scotch whiskey.
2800 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20007

4. Crane & Turtle

828 Upshur St NW, Washington, D.C. 20011
To complement the French-Japanese cuisine of Crane & Turtle, there are seven Japanese whiskies on the menu. Find three Hibiki, two Nikka, one Hakushu, and two Yamazaki options. The restaurant has also hosted Japanese whiskey popups from Bar Otsukare.
828 Upshur St NW
Washington, D.C. 20011

5. Daikaya

705 6th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20001
The izakaya's Japanese whiskey is more than meets the eye. Though the menu shows seven expressions of Nikka, one of Hakushu, one of Yamazaki, and one of Hibiki, the bar has one-off bottles for those who know to ask.
705 6th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20001

6. Izakaya Seki

1117 V St NW, Washington, D.C. 20009
At Izakaya Seki, find Japanese whiskies to accompany sushi and other delicate grilled items. Find two expressions of Hibiki, two of Yamazaki, and four of Nikka. Try them neat or on the rocks. They can be ordered as a highball, but co-owner Cizuka Seki says the whiskies are too good to be drunk that way.
1117 V St NW
Washington, D.C. 20009

7. Jack Rose Dining Saloon

2007 18th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20009
At Jack Rose, find eight expressions of Amrut whiskey from India and three Japanese whiskies – one Hibiki and two Yamazaki single malts.
2007 18th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20009

8. Maketto

1351 H St NE, Washington, D.C. 20002
In a nod to Chef Erik Bruner-Yang's Taiwanese roots, Maketto serves Taiwanese whiskies. Find a selection of three Kavalan Scotch-style whiskies, as well as kaoliang. Also find India's Amrut Fusion.
1351 H St NE
Washington, D.C. 20002

9. Raku

3312 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20016
Along with a broad array of shochu and sake, find a selection of eight Japanese whiskeys. Find two options from Yamazaki, three from Nikka, two from Hibiki, and one from Hakushu.
3312 Wisconsin Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20016

10. Rasika West End

1190 New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20037
The West End location offers four expressions from the distiller Amrut, as well as an option for a flight to try them all. There's the Fusion (distilled from Scottish and Indian barley), a single malt cask strength, a peated selection, and another aged in bourbon and sherry casks.
1190 New Hampshire Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20037

11. Sushi Taro

1503 17th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20036
Sushi Taro offers 10 Japanese whiskey options. It includes two blended options from Hibiki, three single malts from Yamazaki, four options from Nikka, and one from Hakushu.
1503 17th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20036

12. The Source by Wolfgang Puck

575 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20565
Along with hot pot and dumplings, find six expressions of Japanese whiskey. Find selections from Hibiki, Nikka and Yamazaki.
575 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20565

13. Toki Underground

1234 H St NE, Washington, D.C. 20002
To go with ramen, find four expressions of Nikka, one of Hakushu, one of Hibiki, and two of Yamasaki. Not found anywhere else in D.C. they also serve Ichiro's Malt, the product of one of Japan's newest whiskey distilleries, Chichibu.
1234 H St NE
Washington, D.C. 20002

14. Zentan

1155 14th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20005
Zentan serves Japanese whiskies from Hakushu, Hibiki, Nikka, and Yamazaki. They can be ordered individually, or they can be tasted in two different flight options. One is a selection of three whiskies aged 12 years, to show the differences between distilling processes. The other is a selection of single malts from Suntory – two from the Yamazaki distillery in the south, and one from Hakushu, further north.
1155 14th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20005

15. Barrel

613 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Washington, D.C. 20003
Barrel focuses on "brown water" as it is listed on the menu. And among the bourbons and American whiskies, find Japanese and Taiwanese expressions from Nikka, Yoichi, Hibiki, Yamazaki, and Kavalan.
613 Pennsylvania Ave SE
Washington, D.C. 20003

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