The so­cial drinker

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Life - - APPETITES - Tom Mol­loy

Ja­panese whisky might seem like a gim­mick here in Ire­land where whiskey dis­til­leries are spring­ing up ev­ery­where, but any whiskey lover who de­nies them­selves the chance to try a dram or two from Ja­pan’s 100-year-old whisky in­dus­try is a fool.

There are only a few places around the coun­try that stock Ja­panese whisky, and al­most cer­tainly the whisky to go for is a 12-year-old sin­gle malt from Ya­mazaki which, last year, be­came the ever first Ja­panese whisky to be named the world’s best whisky.

Ya­mazaki is made by Sun­tory, one of Ja­pan’s two big dis­til­leries. It may ring bells for those who watched the over­rated and dreary film,

Lost in Trans­la­tion. In the film, Bill Mur­ray plays a washed-up ac­tor who is in Ja­pan to pro­mote the dis­tillery with the words. “For re­lax­ing times, make it Sun­tory time!”.

It’s as good a slo­gan as any, and is a re­minder that it is dif­fi­cult to de­scribe the sub­tle taste dif­fer­ences be­tween spir­its. In gen­eral, it is fair to say that Ja­panese whiskies tend to have a mild and smooth taste, and Ya­mazaki is best de­scribed as nutty, smooth, soft, and a tad sweet.

Ja­panese whiskies take the same spelling as their Scot­tish coun­ter­parts for a rea­son; they are mod­elled on Scot­tish pro­duc­tion tech­niques; dis­tilled twice us­ing pot stills. Many Ja­panese dis­til­leries also use malted and peated bar­ley from Scot­land.

If you can’t get hold of Ya­mazaki, Sun­tory’s Hibiki is also ex­cel­lent, and avail­able here.

The Hibiki 17 Year Old is de­li­cious, or go for the smooth Hibiki Ja­panese Har­mony; it’s more widely avail­able.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.