It's no surprise that Japanese distillers are winning awards, given that Japan has been making whisky since 1923. Lacking the centuries of trial and error that the Scots worked through, the nation's whisky experiment took a scientific approach early on, which later incorporated the people's cultural affinity with nature as a creative and harmonising force. Japanese whiskies differ from other styles being typically distilled from clear wort after long fermentations and matured in a diverse range of oaks, including the indigenous Mizunara. To generalise, the styles reflect the national cuisine: delicately flavoured, elegant, rarely overpowering - in short, food whiskies that also lend themselves to a warmer climate. Consumption has been almost exclusively domestic, in fact, Japan has only recently started to export to major markets like the US.