Forgotten Japanese Whiskies of the 1980s and 90s

Aaron Gilbreath
8 min readJan 27, 2020

As distillers launched super premium brands like Yamazaki and Hibiki, they were also selling cheap oddities to young drinkers who weren’t interested.

The Japanese Whisky Family during the 1980s, when things were simpler. And uglier. Photo from

Everyone loves Japanese whisky right now. It’s the hottest booze in the world, but Japanese whisky also experienced a huge boom in postwar Japan. During the 1960s and ’70s, whisky went from a drink of the well-to-do businessman to a…

Aaron Gilbreath

Essayist, Journalist, Burritoist. Longreads Editor. Writing: Harper’s, NYT, Slate, Paris Review, VQR, Oxford American, Kenyon Review. 3 nonfiction books.