Suntory chief blender Shinji Fukuyo tells you how to drink whisky

There is no one right way to enjoy whisky, as you can see in our cocktail post people have been coming up with pretty ingenious ways to drink it. Shinji Fukuyo, one of Suntory’s chief blenders, has his own ideas on how to drink it, and he should know — his job consists mostly of spending all day tasting whisky. Below are the four ways he recommends to drink whisky:

For the purist

Drinking it “neat” means to pour it straight from the bottle, no ice, no water, nothing added. Some would say that this is the way whisky was meant to be enjoyed. Best kept at room temperature which enables the consumer to catch that so-called “top note” or the key characteristics of whisky. When you read descriptions of how whisky tastes and feels, including on our site, this is what is being described.

On the Rocks

My favorite way of drinking whisky and perhaps the most famous way as well — you usually don’t see people in the movies drink it any other way. One aspect of many Japanese whiskies is that they are in fact made with the intention of being diluted with water or ice; the blenders therefore make sure that the taste or the combination of flavours won’t be lost when you add a little water.

“Mizuwari” With Crushed ice

For those of you who want your whisky extra fresh, this is the way to do it. On a hot summer day this is especially recommended. Some find this a bit over the top, but Suntory has actually encouraged it. They even invented a word for it: mizuwari, or “mixed with water.” Traditionally Japanese shochu has long been enjoyed like this, and now people drink whisky like this as well.


Probably the most popular way in Japan to drink whisky is in highballs, meaning that the whisky is mixed with soda and ice and thus has a much lower alcohol percentage, making it something of a cocktail. This also happens to be chief blender Fukuyo’s favorite way to enjoy the drink. “[It’s] quite relaxing for me,” he says.

Most whisky fans in the West have probably tried out whisky on the rocks and whisky straight. We recommend you try out the other two types as well and see what you think. You might just find your new favorite way to enjoy whisky.