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Exploring the world of Japanese whisky
May 22, 2007 8:31 AM   Subscribe

Exploring the world of Japanese whisky. [via mefi projects]
posted by chunking express (27 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Awesome logo.
posted by interrobang at 8:39 AM on May 22, 2007


My first thought too, interrobang.
I have heard such good things about Japanese whisky but never tried a drop. Thanks for the guide for when I get the chance.
posted by Abiezer at 8:44 AM on May 22, 2007


"For Relaxing Times, Make It Santori Time..."
posted by chuckdarwin at 8:48 AM on May 22, 2007


From the "Where to Buy" sidebar:

Online (US) - I have yet to find an online store in the US that stocks more than Yamazaki 12/18 years.

Well, heck. What's international booze e-commerce like for a curious American?
posted by cortex at 8:49 AM on May 22, 2007


I have heard such good things about Japanese whisky but never tried a drop.

I'm pretty much a monogamous Laphroaig-drinker, but will gladly cheat on her to fill my glass with a Japanese single malt.
posted by three blind mice at 8:53 AM on May 22, 2007


Very cool blog, thanks.
posted by uni verse at 8:59 AM on May 22, 2007


for those of you more knowledgeable, did the Japanese ever try to come up with an Irish (type) whiskey?
posted by pax digita at 9:10 AM on May 22, 2007


for those of you more knowledgeable, did the Japanese ever try to come up with an Irish (type) whiskey?

Sure. A few hours after drinking their single-malt, you'll have all the Irish whiskey you want.
posted by three blind mice at 9:19 AM on May 22, 2007 [4 favorites]


It's a neat blog. My only experience of drinking whiskey was going out for staff parties at cheap snacks and being forced to drink revolting whiskey-and-water while eating salted rice puffs wrapped in seaweed.

My father-in-law also used to drink something like The Suntory Old Whiskey, but it had a black label and a slightly different name. I drank Kirin Lager with my wife and mother-in-law, but he didn't mind.

He died about 8 years ago. He was a good guy, but drank too much whiskey and ate too much red meat.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:30 AM on May 22, 2007


3bm -- them's fightin' words, 'cept I'm laughing too hard to make fists!
posted by pax digita at 9:36 AM on May 22, 2007


Japan is the second biggest producer of single malt whisky in the world. Its malts have been winning top honours at international tastings.

Dang. I had no idea, and I love me a good single-malt. I wish Japanese whisky was more readily-available near me.
posted by Greg Nog at 9:38 AM on May 22, 2007


Suntory ads by Akira Kurosawa with Francis Ford Coppola and others.
posted by vronsky at 9:40 AM on May 22, 2007


Well, heck. What's international booze e-commerce like for a curious American?"

Try living in Pennsylvania where you can buy exactly what the state store tells you that you can buy. Whiskey from Japan? I'm not even allowed to ship wine from California.
posted by octothorpe at 9:42 AM on May 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Here's a tip from your ever loving sipping whiskey drinker....
Most local tap water kills good whiskey.
posted by doctorschlock at 10:12 AM on May 22, 2007


Excellent blog. I've had the Suntory 12-yr-old and absolutely loved it; but even this relatively plain-Jane Japanese whisky is very hard to find in the US. Are there good US mail-order distributors or places to shop for the stuff?
posted by RogerB at 10:37 AM on May 22, 2007


You can get a good range in the UK from The Whiskey Exchange. (They ship to the US too, but, especially with the current exchange rate, it's not cheap.)
posted by jack_mo at 10:57 AM on May 22, 2007


Cheap and plentiful Japanese whiskey is.

But the thing that astounds me is the selection of other whiskies from around the world, just in our local grocery store. Say Lagavulin, sure, but in 4 different versions according to the wood of the cask. And on and on. Aisles of it. Not in a specialty shop. In our grocery store.

Wish I were more of a fan. I stick to Asahi, shochu, and sake mostly.
posted by dreamsign at 11:16 AM on May 22, 2007


Chuckdarwin, that was one of my favorite scenes of ALL TIME.

"You know loja moore?"
"Lat Pack?"
posted by tadellin at 12:14 PM on May 22, 2007


So wait, y'all have Meetups where Japanese whiskey is supplied? Count me in.
posted by davy at 1:08 PM on May 22, 2007


Scotland shamed: Japan wins whisky challenge. (I posted that three and a half years ago, and I've still never tried the stuff. Got two different kinds of Glenmorangie in the kitchen cabinet, though. And I love the Bill Murray scene.)
posted by languagehat at 1:15 PM on May 22, 2007


3bm -- them's fightin' words, 'cept I'm laughing too hard to make fists!

Get in line, pax digita. Me mother's Irish and she'd probably be throwing the first punch.

No offense intended to you lovers of Irish whiskey. Here's to ya mate.

*takes long pull on bottle of Stoli*

*grits teeth, shudders.*

The Scotch is finished and I'm really not that picky! It's all good.
posted by three blind mice at 1:21 PM on May 22, 2007


Thanks, chunking, this is a fun blog.

Several years back, I played a show at the Kirin-Seagram distillery in Gotenba town (near Mt. Fuji), doing solo percussion and electronic gizmos in one of the factory work areas. It was an enormous room where the whiskey bottles ran down conveyor belts to have their labels affixed, and also where rows of ladies sat peering into the bottles, checking for color of the whisky, I was told. The clinky-clank of the bottles rumbling down the line and the hum of machinery made an interesting sonic backdrop for what I was doing. It was the distillery's yearly open house day, where the public could come check out the day-to-day goings on there, as well as hear some music and entertainment. Certainly one of the most unique and interesting venues I ever played in. And happy indeed was I when, at the end of the day, I received (in addition to the performance fee) a really nice bottle of some special anniversary edition Scotch which was very, very tasty, and which was also apparently very expensive. I'm generally a bit of a snob concerning whisky not from Scotland or Ireland, but this stuff was excellent.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:15 PM on May 22, 2007


People should really be thanking chaschas for the link. It didn't take much effort to click that "post to metafilter" link on the projects page. As others have said, this is a way cool blog.
posted by chunking express at 8:06 PM on May 22, 2007


Pax Digita asked: " Did the Japanese ever try to come up with an Irish (type) whiskey?" Generally, Japanese whisky is in the Scotch tradition but there are certainly Bourbonish whiskeys. Not sure about Irish but will try to find out. Thanks for the kind comments from some of you. As I say on the blog, I have no special whisky expertise. If anybody has tried any of this stuff and disagrees with my impressions or has anything to add, please comment on the blog. It would be nice to make it less of a monologue.

The US availability thing seems to be a bit of a problem. Surely, some enterprising liquor guy could import some of this stuff and sell it on the web! I have had hundreds of hits on my website from the US. There seems to be a lot of interest. But very little supply as far as I can see (If anybody knows of a good source, please tell me).

I did find this ebay seller sending to Canada as well as Europe, but apparently not the States:
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&mpt=1178716733179&item=160097002044
Otherwise I think the whisky exchange and the big UK suppliers (they are on the blog) are a good source. Pretty sure the native Japanese online stores would be a bit of a nightmare to negotiate for international sales.
posted by chaschas at 12:16 AM on May 23, 2007


According to the obligatory Wikipedia article most Japanese whisky is made in the Scotch style using a maize ("corn") mash as bourbon does instead of barley like in Scotch. Interesting. So far all I've seen of Japanese whiskey are two or three brands of single-malt that are of course priced beyond my ordinary reach, but I've made a mental note to try it ASAP.
posted by davy at 8:43 AM on May 23, 2007


"made in the Scotch style using a maize ("corn") mash as bourbon does instead of barley like in Scotch" - I think that is the obligatory Wikipedia mistake. There may be Japanese whiskies made in this way but the big brands make it with barley, just as in Scotland.

(Incidentally, some of the big Scotch distilleries are now owned by Japanese distillers. eg. Bowmore, Auchentoshan, Ben Nevis, Tomatin and Glen Garioch. I think there is at least on Bourbon owned by the Japanese but in general they are working within the Scots tradition)
posted by chaschas at 3:43 PM on May 23, 2007


Neat blog, chaschas. As a recent whiskey convert I'm eager to try some of these.
posted by lekvar at 4:12 PM on May 23, 2007


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