Wednesday, November 30, 2011

No Idea Tachinomi Rokkomichi

The man behind BAR+NO IDEA, the cozy little establishment in Rokkomich where locals seek refuge over drams and Othello is back. This time bigger than one could imagine in terms of selection and creativity. Ishida-san, popular for his friendliness and humor, last month opened up his third enterprise in yet again Rokkomichi and minutes from the old place. This time around he has successfully introduced a selection of food at his new venue that includes Kushikatsu and Oden. Surprisingly enough these types of foods, which generally are suited to beer, go well with his imaginative selection of Japanese whisky that the old venue lacked.

The new establishment is unbelievably cheap and stylish with the majority of Scotch and Japanese whisky ranging between 500~700 yen per 30ml serve. The reasoning behind the affordability, which in my opinion is the cheapest place in Kansai to have a dram, is that the establishment is marketed as a tachinomi, literally a stand up bar. Although a tachinomi usually consists of the standard alcohol beverage list and associated snacks, which this place does, the main emphasis is on whisky and Kushikatsu that seems to work well believe it or not.

Besides the astronomical cheap whisky prices, this new concept food and whisky bar has daily specials such as the One Coin set that includes a draft beer and two fried skewers of your choice. Opened from 2:00pm, with no cover charge, which is a blessing for local residents, happy hour starts from 3:00pm and finishes at 5:00pm. Outside of happy hour everything is amazingly cheap if you cannot make it between those times. The malt selection may change over time but in any conciliation there will be something pleasing for everyone. This is well worth the minimal effort to visit this place. The liquor chain Yamaya is within walking distance so make the most of it while in Rokkomichi, Kobe.



2-12-2 Morigocho,
Nada-ku, Kobe-shi

Monday, November 28, 2011

Suntory Yamazaki Bourbon Barrel 48%abv

Nose: Honey vanilla ice cream, tinned peach syrup, muesli (Costco granola), strawberries, dark chocolate and presence of oak with a pinch of pepper.

Taste: Chocolate, a touch of spice, slightly nutty with medium fig mouthfeel.

Finish: Initial spice that prolongs into sweet vanilla, oak and again figs.

Comment: I found myself enjoying this as much as I thought I would. Certainly exciting in the right mood. Worth while to let it open up a bit.

Reviewed by Clint A

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Taketsuru 35-Year-Old

Nonjatta has an interesting post on the 2011 bottling of Nikka’s 35-year-old Taketsuru. Nikka’s mouthwatering description on the nose and taste of this limited-edition expression put it at the top of the “want to try” list. Perhaps I wont spoil the experience by repeating Nikka’s enticing self notes for those lucky enough to be able to obtain and afford a bottle, or at least have the opportunity to have a dram of it and experience it for yourself.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Hakushu NAS - Whisky Shop W Bottling

Expression: Hakushu - no age statement - Bottled: 2011 - original store bottling for Whisky Shop W - Volume: 300ml

Nose: Earthy. Mint with lime milkshakes - sweet. Hints of faint smoke that is initially hidden but rolls out after opening up. With a drop of water sherbet (Wizz Fizz – flavoured sweet powder) becomes noticeable along with dusty wood - pine perhaps.

Taste: Citrus: lime. Then, a touch of aniseed with an abundance of fresh mint: mojito. The addition of water adds a touch of cloves, spice, and a tease of smoke.

Finish: Silky, complex, with an initial splash of spice, cloves, and prolonged mint. Pleasantly mouth numbing. Water turns this into a semi spice driven ride with a licorice mouth feel. 

Comment: Quite a pleasant little number. Not your typical Hakushu but just as rewarding. Spend a long time with it. Experiment with water for complexity. 

Reviewed by Clint A

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Hakushu Original Store Bottling

For those of you who have followed Whiskies R Us relatively from the beginning would be familiar with Whisky Shop W. A store owned by Suntory, which was established specifically to educate residents of Osaka and make them aware of whisky. Whisky Shop W is quite unique in the sense as it is an establishment that not only offers whisky and associated gifts for sale, but allows patrons the opportunity to sample whisky for a minimal cost. Being owned by Suntory naturally means that the nectar available is nothing but Suntory. Certainly no complaints here, especially when Suntory’s chief blenders are allowed to play around and come up with unique concoctions limited only to the store. I finally have in my possession one of these exclusive store bottlings, single malt distilled at Hakushu. Whisky Shop W informs me that there are 58 bottles remaining of this expression that retails at 3,150 yen for 300mls. Putting volume aside, this unique whisky would be well worth the money and lets not forget the 10-minute walk from the JR Umeda station. I have not opened this bottle yet but plan to enjoy it over the weekend. Keep your eyes out for the review.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Yamazaki 50-Year-Old

Suntory announced yesterday the release of the 50-year-old Yamazaki, an iconic whisky that will be on sale from December 13. The 700ml limited edition 50-year-old single malt is Suntory’s 2011 bottling that is set to retail for approximately 1,000,000 yen (12,700 AUD) and is limited to only 150 bottles nation wide. The single malt, which is believed to be heavily fragranced and deep-bodied with assistance from Mizuna wood, is said to become available in selected high-end department stores that began placing orders on the day of the announcement. Similar occurrences took place with the announcement of the 2005 and 2007 bottlings. Representatives have said that the 57 percent bottling that is very sought after will basically be available to those on a first-come-first-served basis. Theoretically only those with big pockets will have the pleasure of owning this nectar or at least tasting it, which has sold for 90,000 yen (1,100 AUD) a shot in the past. For a detailed review of what its like to have this liquid reach every crevasse of your mouth, take a look at Nicholas Coldicott's interesting entry.

Update: Chris Bunting, the founder of Nonjatta has kindly pointed out that a shot of Yamazaki 50-year-old is not an "estimated" 90,000 yen as previously mentioned but "exactly" 90,000 yen. These prices are evident in Nicolas' article above. Changes have been made accordingly.

Image kindly obtained from Suntory

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Taketsuru Premium Highball II

Nikka debuts a new addition to their existing portfolio today, November 8. Only it’s not an introduction into a new bottle of nectar unfortunately, but yet again another canned highball. One could possible say that this Taketsuru highball is somewhat premium compared to other highballs that adorn the shelves of convenience stores and supermarkets nation wide. Like the previous Taketsuru 12 year-old highball, this is somewhat true if you set it side by side with lets say a Torys highball, but once again, as discussed on previous posts, the majority of serious drinkers tend to cringe when seeing a perfectly good malt being drank mixed with something other than a bit of water. Regardless, the market and popularity for such a beverage is never fading, which I feel I have said too many times before, and this is evident in Suntory’s upcoming winter launch of a Yuzu flavoured Torys highball that was easily predicatedIn conjunction with the debut of this non-aged Taketsuru highball, Nikka is giving away to 200 winning entrants two cans per person. For those of you who are not fortunate enough to win and wish to give it a go, according to Nikka as of today all major convenience stores will have it for sale while stocks last. Click here for entry details.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Mars Amber Blended Whisky 40% abv

Nose: Weak sherry, damp towels, peppered cauliflower, plastic buckets, slightly cereal and a very faint florally note.

Taste: Faint solvent, peppered cabbage water, again weak sherry, thin almost vanishing in your mouth.

Finish: Short would be an understatement. Watery. Not a lot happening besides the quick disappearance of spice.

Comment: Nothing really unpleasant about this blend but don't expect a lot to happen. Now that is just my opinion of course. Dare I say it but maybe good for a mixer? 

Review by Clint A

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

New Calm Revival

Some interesting news has come to light on a particular post that was written sometime ago. Instead of just briefly updating the bottom of the post I have decided to add a new entry for this update. New Calm, the home brand whisky of the Coop supermarket, which is clearly stated, to be produced by Nikka has reappeared in a heavy publicized campaign throughout a handful of stores in Kobe. It appears that New Calm, which comes in the 1.8L plastic bottle, has revealed its source. Although not written on the back of the label itself, one of Coop’s advertisements for the whisky writes “this whisky has been made using malt from Hokkaido’s Yoichi and Sendai’s Miyagikyo distilleries”, theoretically indicating it’s a pure malt. However, another source has indicated that New Clam also contains grain whisky therefore it represents a blend. Obviously the size of this whisky along with its current campaign price of 2,180 yen (20 EUR/27 USD) clearly points out it’s the aforementioned whisky type and purely produced to cater for the ongoing highball campaign. That or Nikka has a lot of whisky to play with for reasons that are not known. One thing is for certain and that is a tasting is in need, if only it was bottled appropriately for this purpose.