In 1918 Masataka Taketsuru, the founder of Nikka Whisky, embarked on a long voyage to Scotland and, after enrolling at Glasgow University, became the first Japanese person ever to study whisky making. He took chemistry courses at the university and apprenticed at distilleries, learning first-hand from craftsmen and received training as a blender. Masataka would later become known as a master blender. After returning to Japan in 1920 Masataka began work for a company who would produce Japan's first whisky. In 1934, Masataka struck out on his own and established Nikka Whisky and built its first distillery in Yoichi, Hokkaido, which he had always considered to be the ideal site in Japan for whisky-making. This was later joined, in 1969, by the Miyagikyo Distillery, also in northern Japan. The Miyagikyo Distillery is in Sendai (lat.38 N), Miyagi Prefecture, northern Honshu. Masataka came upon this site whilst travelling in the local area. The distillery is completely enclosed by mountains and sandwiched between two rivers - a perfect site for whisky distilling. This soft and luxuriantly fragrant single malt whisky is distilled and matured at the Miyagikyo distillery in Sendai. At Miyagikyo, the different natural environment and the use of steam heat distillation results in a malt whisky with a different character from that of Yoichi. The nose is a luxuriant yet crisp one, harmonizing the light scent of malt with the fragrance of the cask. The palate is characterized by its silky smoothness.