Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Hakushu in the Park

Our friends at the HAKUSHU distillery will be hosting an open-air event on the grassy flats of Tokyo Midtown, Roppongi. The event “HAKUSHU MIDPARK CAFÉ” will consist of a nice little set up in Tokyo’s recent park project called “Open Up The Park”. The outdoor bar that will coincide with nature will be providing park patrons the opportunity to sip on 10 year-old Hakushu highballs. Other beverages that may be suitable for a sweet tooth include a 10 year-old Hakushu and honey highball, Hakushu tea soda,  and a green tea Hakushu. For those of you who are in Tokyo and are free between April 29 - May 15, pop down for some sunshine and foliage and enjoy not only the fragrances of the park but also the malt of Hakushu.

Photograph kindly borrowed from the Suntory website.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Mega Don Quijote Kobe Honten

Don Quijote have shops all over the country. They stock everything and anything from crazy toys and party goods to quirky snacks. The majority of you living in Japan most likely have had the pleasure in entertaining yourself in one of these novelty stores, it’s almost on everyone’s “to do list”.

Until now, a great number of Don Quijote stores have stocked a pretty bland (in my opinion) selection of alcohol including cheap domestic and international blends. With the opening of Kobe’s Don Quijote Mega store this has all changed. For single malt fans of both domestic and international expressions, this store is a must to visit.

5 minutes by foot from the Kasugano Michi station (dentetsu honline) will get you in the vicinity of the new mega store. This store is hard not to miss with its great big red, yellow, and black sign on the roof advertising that everything is cheap.The selection of single malts and their pricing at the new store is pretty impressive (again, in my opinion). You can pick up some well-priced Scottish independents, a few limited edition bottlings, and perhaps my favourite, a very good selection of top shelf domestic drams. The majority of drams available here most likely can be found at other stores, but what sets this place apart is if you take your trusty passport  with you, tax is exempt.  

651-0072 3-2-23 wakihamama-cho
Kobe-city, chuou-ku Hyogo



Thursday, April 14, 2011

King Cobra Whisky

The majority of you have most likely heard about it, and quite a few of you may have actually seen it or own a bottle of it. Vietnamese whisky aka “snake wine” is a liquid claimed to be good for all sorts of things. Locals declare that king cobras infused in a bottle of whisky or rice wine have medicinal purposes including the claimed ability to create arousal on consumption. On my recent trip to Nam, on any given street in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, bottles of all shapes and sizes containing cobras and other interesting reptiles could be found for next to nothing. This exotic Asian beverage is certainly a rare gift and one for the cabinet. I personally did not bring my self back one of these transparent bottled treats as it would have only got confiscated if found. Out of the thousands that pass freely through customs I would have been the one stopped and checked. Let me be honest, even if I brought back a bottle I would not have the courage to consume it. For those who will be making a journey to Vietnam and would like to make a purchase but hesitate and don’t, good news, you have one last chance at both international airports. If any Whiskies R Us readers have had a shot, please feel free to review this venom-fuelled liquid.

For further information take a look a Wikipedia, the site has an interesting description on snake wine that may be of interest.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Suntory Hakushu 12yo 43% abv

Nose: Background smoke in small but distinguishable doses, dollop of ice cream in cola, hint of dusty floor boards, overdone crumpets, fresh hessian bags, florally, peach syrup.

Taste: Barley, spice-but not dominant, bit of smoke mostly over the half way mark, pipe tobacco, chewy.

Finish: Hefty spice kick initially that rolls out into soft vanilla, long, eventually sweet and oily.

Balance: Slight burn on initial mouthfeel but smoothens out for an intriguing balance of spice, faint smoke and sweetness.

Comment: I would have to say that Hakushu is one of my favourite expressions compared to a variety of other major Japanese distillery bottlings out there. This certainly is quality in my opinion and I always find my self ordering this when out.

Reviewed by Clint A