I’m so often asked about Japanese whiskey, it’s about damn time I update here too.
Tokyo has hundreds of phenomenal whiskey bars with jaw-dropping collections of whiskeys that are near extinct. Over the years, I’ve found my go-to bars and through frequenting these bars, I’ve learned so much from the bartenders. These bartenders (or masters, as they are called in Japan) are spirit shokunin, masters of their trade. The amount of knowledge they have is unreal. And the best part is every one of the barmasters are extremely generous with sharing their knowledge.
The only problem is, these dudes only speak Japanese and if you don’t speak Japanese you’re, well, SOL. Or shit outta luck.
Enter this piece. So on Twitter, I connected with a bartender-slash-writer who wrote an exceptional, most relevant piece on Japanese whiskey (as of 2018).
He touches upon an up and coming obscure brand called Ichiro (like the baseball player) that I was introduced to in Tokyo a few years back. One of my obsessions was whiskey ‘slept in’ Mizunara barrels for a while. I say slept in because it is the literal translation from Japanese — nekaseru ねかせる — meaning resting, sleeping, etc.
I first stumbled upon Mizunara wood at Gen-san’s, as his bar counter is made from Mizunara. Then I tried Yamazaki Mizunara at the Aman a few years back Then I discovered Hibiki also has a Mizunara blend (but still expensive and hard to find). And then, Ichiro has two types. One solely aged in Mizunara and another, a blend. Personally I prefer the latter vs the former. It has more depth.
Since I shared this knowledge on Twitter, thought I should post on here too. Afterall, Tweets just … disappear into the Internet blackhole.
You can read Dan’s GQ piece here.