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Monday, January 28, 2019

Suntory Toki Japanese Whisky Review

Welcome to our review of Suntory Toki Japanese Whisky. We came across this bottle on a trip to Florida and thought it would be interesting to give Japanese Whisky a try. We've never had Japanese Whisky and know next to nothing about it, so this should be exciting.

Toki means "time" in Japanese so let's have some Whisky Toki! Let's get into the specs!
Manufacturer: Beam Suntory (Jim Beam)

Age: Unknown

Location Produced: Hakushu Distillery, Yamazaki Distillery, and Chita Distillery in Japan

Mash Bill: Unknown

Aroma (from manufacturer): 
Basil, green apple, honey

Taste (from manufacturer)Grapefruit, green grapes, peppermint, thyme

Finish (from manufacturer): Subtly sweet and spicy finish with a hint of vanilla oak, white pepper and ginger

Alcohol: 43%

Who is this for?: Individuals looking for something new, people wanting to learn and enjoy whisky in the fashion of the Japanese, Hello Kitty, Goku, Vegeta, Mr. Sparkle.

Cost (Ohio): $34.99 + tax

Let's start the review!

Taste - Score 13 out of 35

When researching Toki, the official website recommends having a chaser handy when you're drinking on the rocks or neat... they also only recommend Toki for drinking as a highball. For this review, we drank neat and as a half rock using their techniques.

Neat - On the nose, we picked up a strong liquor smell, but also a hint of banana. when tasting, it comes across similar to a scotch with an overarching peat taste. Another description was that it tastes like a grain alcohol with a musty wood flavor. For us, the alcohol taste is much too strong to drink neat.

Half Rock - When we drank as a half rock, the color almost turned to water (picture below). Adding the ice and water did make Toki much more drinkable. I was afraid the water would dilute the flavor, but that wasn't the case. It's just a different flavor that we're not used to and isn't something overly enjoyable. To us, it tasted like a cheaper Scotch (similar to Dewer's).

Smoothness/Finish - Score 10 out of 25

We picked up a very strong bite on a medium finish. We really tasted the alcohol. We didn't pick up any of the recommended notes on the finish, instead, we got mostly smokey and bitter. It really reminds us of Dewers. If you are a fan of that, you may like this. It's unique and we could see people enjoying this.

Intangibles: Color/Appearance - Score 8 out of 15.

The Toki bottle is really solid. The wrapping at the top is a mesh material that almost feels like gauze. We have had this on display for a while on our bar and it's a fun conversation piece.

In terms of the color in the glass that Suntory calls 'clear gold', it doesn't compare well our usual bourbons or rye whiskeys. We much prefer the beautiful dark brown colors that come from the char of the wood in the bourbons. Unfortunaly, in the glass, this looks more like a Pinot Grigio. 

Availability - Score 1 out of 5

Toki is available for sale in Ohio but isn't carried in the majority of state-run liquor stores. You'll have to do some hunting to find this, but it can be done. We saw this recently at Northwest Liquor and Spirits

Overall Value - Score 5 out of 20

This was a fun review that gave us the opportunity to try something new. In the end, Toki just isn't our forte. If you gravitate towards scotch and that flavor profile, this could be a good choice. In the end, we gave this to a scotch lover for their opinion and they scored it almost double where we landed. We're thankful for the opportunity to give it a go and enjoyed learning about Japanese whisky, but this isn't one we recommend or will be buying in the future. 

Final Score: 37 out of 100 

Note: This review was done by Mark, Johny K, Matty G, and others. The bottle was purchased in Ft. Myers Florida.


  1. Love the post and review. I like this whiskey as a japanese culture fan. Not bothered by the low score. Suntory Toki is a much acquired taste in America. If you think you'll like. Try it. If not pass on it.

    1. I agree to this comment more than the review. This whisky should not be compared with burbon. It tastes refined with a touch of fruit and is far from pete. Don't be bothered by the low score.