Suntory calls itself the pioneer of Japanese whisky, and it’s a fair title given the background: It was founded in 1923 with the Yamazaki distillery, built in a place famed for its excellent water. The Toki is a blend of all three Suntory distilleries -- Yamazaki, Hakushu, and Chita -- and it’s smooth, light, and accessible. At only $45 on average, it’s a great introduction to Japanese whiskies, and works as well neat as it does in a highball, or even in a cocktail. If you’re looking for a great starting point, Toki’s your bottle.
The Yamazaki 12 is the flagship of the Suntory label, and an exemplary taste of Japanese whisky. It was the first to hit the market in the US 30 years ago, but nowadays it’s hard to find, and the prices have risen accordingly. Still, it’s a lovely whisky: full of pear, apple, honeysuckle, and light oak.