Japanese Whisky 101: Terms to Know

If you’re new to the realm of exquisite and luxurious whisky, you may be unaware of the whisky jargon, which consists of common terms to describe the various types of whisky. Even for avid whisky lovers, these terms can often be confused. But that’s why we created this guide to help you not only to better understand the whisky world, but to make your shopping experience here at Dekanta easier and more pleasurable. Let’s begin the lesson!


Ji-Whisky is a special name that the Japanese have given to smaller distilleries that do not offer whisky products nationwide; you can only get their whisky in their local areas. These distilleries also make sake and shochu, which are popular alcoholic drinks along with the famous Japanese whisky. Here at Dekanta, though, we strive to feature these local whisky distilleries so that they can have their own shelf space and have an opportunity to shine among the more well-known whisky brands. Some of the Ji-Whisky brands you’ll find here at Dekanta include:

Shop Ji-whisky here at Dekanta for your convenience! You can learn more about Ji-Whisky distilleries here.

Single Malt

The term “single malt” can often be confused to mean a whisky that is simply from a single batch or a single barrel, but this particular whisky-related term is broader than that. The “single” part refers to the whisky coming from a single distillery. Malt means that the whisky is made of 100% malted grain (barley). Even though a single malt whisky can contain parts from various barrels in a distillery, as long as the whisky barrels are from the same distillery, it is considered a single malt. If you’re new to the whisky world, then you may not think that single malt whiskies are significant. The truth is, though, that the taste of whisky can change due to a wide range of variables, including the location of a distillery. That’s why single malt is one of the whisky categories used to help whisky lovers find the perfect whisky bottle to add to their liquor collection. Here are several examples of single-malt whiskies available here at Dekanta:

Single Grain

The only similarities between ‘single malt’ and ‘single grain’ are the ‘single’ in these terms and that they’re related to the whisky-making process. But the whisky term ‘single grain’ has a completely different meaning than ‘single malt.’ When a whisky is described as single grain, this description is referring to the grain used to make the whiskey. Whereas single malt whiskies are made entirely of malted barley, single grain whiskies are composed at least partly of corn, wheat or rye. The “single” in the term once again refers to all of the whisky originating from the same distillery.

Here at Dekanta, we house many exquisite single-grain Japanese whiskies. The following list shares some of the most noteworthy single-grain whisky we have currently available in our store:

Blended Japanese Whisky

Just as the name suggests, blended whiskies are ones that have a perfect mixture of grain and malt whiskies. Blended whiskies can also be a combination of whiskies from multiple distilleries. In the whisky world, a certified whisky blender will determine the right combination by tasting and finding the best matches for a whisky flavor profile. Blending whisky flavors is an art, and these blended whiskies can lead to incredibly rich and extravagant Japanese whiskies. Japanese blenders have established a reputation for producing the world’s best blended whiskies seeking to find harmonious combinations.

Here are several blended whiskies that Dekanta currently offers:

Single Cask Bottlings

Single Cask bottlings are quite rare but refer to exactly what the name states. They are bottles produced entirely from a single cask. Generally these bottles are produced at cask strength with no dilution. You get the opportunity to taste whisky in the same way as the distiller who tapped the cask. Each cask tastes slightly different meaning that bottles from two different casks will be entirely different. This lack of inconsistency means that the Japanese are reluctant to release single cask offerings — they prefer delivering a consistent product through single malts or blends.

Some Single Cask Bottles Available:

Bonus: Exotic Spirits

Liquors such as whisky, rum, and vodka are often called spirits. Though there are plenty of theories about where this unique nickname comes from, here at Dekanta, where we mostly offer high-end Japanese whisky, we also have a shop section called Exotic Spirits where we provide different luxury alcohol. Many bars around the world have their own unique and exotic cocktail blends, but we have a curious collection of other liquors that may suit your tastes. Some of the Exotic Spirits Dekanta has available include:

  • Sakura Kirakira – a popular alcoholic drink featuring the famous and beautiful Japanese cherry blossom flower!
  • Umeshu – Also known as Japanese Apricot Wine, this fruity and refreshing liquor is a fantastic addition to family gatherings and dinner parties.
  • Mie no Hakubai Kagayaki – Traditional Japanese sake drink made from Gohyakumangoku rice and stored in the signature blue bottle of the Ginjo distillery.
  • Usaki Aged Awamori – A unique, mature sake drink that was aged in traditional pots. This Awamori is known as Okinawa’s national and royal drink.
  • Okuhida Rice Vodka – A one-of-a-kind alcoholic beverage for those who want to try something other than whisky, shochu, and sake!

Now that you know more about Japanese whisky and liquor, shop for your favorites now! Dekanta shares a wide selection of whisky from small to major distilleries and other types of alcoholic beverages. No matter what you go for, though, you’ll always receive the best of the best here at Dekanta!