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Going to Japan, any recommendations

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Going to Japan, any recommendations

Postby Danny » Sat Dec 17, 2005 6:17 pm

We are going to Japan to visit our daughter over Christmas and New Years.

Lucky, for me anyway, she has set aside one day to tour the Suntory Distillery.

I will be taking JM's Whiskey Bible with me, as I intend to bring back one or two Japanese malts to try.

However was wondering there were any recommendations out there.

I will be away from the computer for most of the day so if you send a recommendation and I don't get back to you right away, please don't think I am being rude.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sat Dec 17, 2005 6:22 pm

"Yiochi" and "Hakushu" are generally acknowledged as the two star Japanese single malts. "Sendai" and "Yamazaki" are also both worth seeking out.
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Postby jimidrammer » Sun Dec 18, 2005 12:24 am

Ed, you're up! :wink:
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Going to Japan, any recommendations

Postby Danny » Sun Dec 18, 2005 3:54 am

Thanks, eelbrook. I will be sure to check these out.
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Postby bamber » Sun Dec 18, 2005 10:14 am

As well as the Japanese whiskies mentioned, keep your eye out for special 'for Japanese market only' bourbons. There are some good ones over there apparently. Evan Williams 12yo for example.
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Going to japan

Postby Danny » Sun Dec 18, 2005 3:50 pm

Thanks, Bamber. I have little knowledge of bourbon, mostly drank Canadian Whisky before discovering the complexity of the malt world.
Once past Jim Beam and Jack Daniels I am pretty lost, so exploring some bourbon would be a good thing to do.
Thanks again.
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Postby Badmonkey » Mon Dec 19, 2005 6:27 am

Danny,

Where in Japan will you be staying and which Suntory distillery will you visit? If you are in a larger centre then you can probably sample a range of styles at a local whisky bar or at a decent restaurant. You might want to try your hand at some of the shochu (distilled spirits from rice, potato, sweet potato, etc.) or nihonshu (rice wine) while you are there.

Narita Airport duty-free shops sell both Yamazaki 12 and Hibiki 17 (but usually the chill-filtered one), and those are a good place to start. The latter is particularly full-bodied for a blend and will serve you well. At 7000 yen/bottle (about $70) your wallet will take a hit. You will find it to your liking if you enjoy bourbon. The non-chill-filtered costs 1000 yen more and is worth it.

Most of the Hakushu (by Suntory) whiskies I tried were fairly light and refreshing; I quite enjoyed them all of them very much, though less that some other brands.

Suntory recently came out with a vintage malt series for customers with fatter wallets and an adventurous spirit. The flavours (and prices) between the vintages vary a lot, so I would recommend sampling a range and then settling on one that you like. My personal favourites were the Yamazaki Vintage 1982 and the 1989. You can expect to pay over 10,000 yen per bottle, though the distillery might sell them for less.

Yoichi is made by Nikka, so you won't find it on the tour. The 10 is easy to find at retail outlets and usually costs about 4000 yen. It is a great buy, but if you lay your eyes upon the 10 c.s. or the 15 you would do well to spend the extra money.

One thing you will notice is that hard alcohol prices are very low there compared with Canada due to low taxation of spirits. As a result, you'll find many a bargain on scotch and bourbon. The better shopes in Tokyo and Osaka carry a mind-boggling range of whiskies, including several bourbons that will never make it to Canadian shelves in the near future.

Good luck and have a great trip.

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Going to Japan

Postby Danny » Tue Dec 20, 2005 12:27 am

Badmonkey, hey thanks for all the good advice. You have obviously been once or twice.

We will spend most of our time in Osaka area but will be in both Hiroshima and Tokyo for three to four days.

Your sure right about whisky being cheaper in other jurisdictions. Alberta is good, but BC, Ireland and Scotland are all very near the same price. Usually can buy at a better rate in lots other places.

Hey, we will have a good trip. Enjoy your Christmas Season.

Cheers! I toast you with a small taste of Talisker 18 yr.
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Postby Badmonkey » Tue Dec 20, 2005 2:04 am

I lived there for 7 of the last 9 years, right up to July 2005, so my memories are still (too) fresh. I'm much more familiar with Tokyo than Osaka and Edmonton, for that matter. If you would like more detailed information on where to find good shops in neighbourhoods you will likely visit as a tourist, feel free to contact me at my private email address.

Have a great trip.

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Postby Badmonkey » Fri Jan 06, 2006 4:40 am

Well, how was the trip?
More importantly, how was the whisky?
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Postby vrenkom » Fri Jan 06, 2006 9:13 pm

Badmonkey wrote:Well, how was the trip?
More importantly, how was the whisky?

I wonder too,
because I can not imagine miself drinking japanese whisky.
from scotland - of course,
from ireland too (jameson ...)
from america too (jack - like Vonnegut ...)
but from japan?
Am I wrong :?:
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Postby Crispy Critter » Sat Jan 07, 2006 3:20 am

Well, I've had Suntory Yamazaki 12yo single malt, and I found it to be quite a nice dram. To me it was most like an unsherried Speysider. Very good, and inexpensive too.

I've seen the 18yo on the shelf, too, but it's quite a lot more expensive, so I haven't tried it - for about the same price I could get Lagavulin 16 or Ardbeg Uigeadail...
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Postby Badmonkey » Sat Jan 07, 2006 4:14 am

Vrenkom,

Welcome to the forum.

I cannot speak to the issue of your imagination, but I can assure you that Japanese whiskies are worth considering. At the bottom of the scale they can be terrible, but those ones are easy to identify as they come in 3-litre plastic bottles. As for a wide range of high-end malts that are distilled in Japan, they can hold their own against some of the best whiskies in the world. Sadly, they are usually hard to come by outside of Japan. The 2006 Whisky Bible does a very good job of covering Japan and it is a good place to start for descriptions.

Cheers,

Badmonkey
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Postby SpiritofShetland » Sat Jan 07, 2006 11:00 am

If you like your whiskies young and peaty try to get ahold of one of the Isle of Jura's made for Japan. Tasted a 3-year old at the Highlander Inn in Craigellachie last autumn, and it was smashing - extremely peaty.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sat Jan 07, 2006 3:02 pm

Forty years ago none of us could imagine driving Japanese cars, either.
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Postby vrenkom » Sat Jan 07, 2006 7:22 pm

OK - get rid of stereotype :!:
I am looking forward to try one of japanese whiskies
but
it is realy not easy to get them :cry: in my part of the world
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Going to Japan

Postby Danny » Tue Jan 17, 2006 5:39 am

Trip was great. Travaled from as far north as Tokyo to the Southern Isle of Ishigaki, with stops at Kyoto, Nara, Osaka and Hiroshima in between.

Did not drink much whisky, mostly drank Nihonshu or as we westerners call it Sake. An amazing amount of brewers and types of this there.

I did drink some Suntory blends, mostly the Suntory Old and Royal. Found them quite acceptable, did not take notes but would consider them with the upper middle range of Scotch blends. I have a friend in Japan that came to Dawson every year for 13 years and always brought me a bottle of each. Some of my Scotch drinking friends at that time found them very acceptable.

I also tried out a Suntory entry level blend, now to put this in perspective, you can buy a 1.8 liter bottle of this for about $28.00 Cdn, and surprise, surprise, it was priced just right. Would avoid it if you go there.

I do think that the mid to upper end Japanese Whiskies are quite good and well worth exploring.
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Going to Japan

Postby Danny » Tue Jan 17, 2006 5:40 am

Trip was great. Traveled from as far north as Tokyo to the Southern Isle of Ishigaki, with stops at Kyoto, Nara, Osaka and Hiroshima in between.

Did not drink much whisky, mostly drank Nihonshu or as we westerners call it Sake. An amazing amount of brewers and types of this there.

I did drink some Suntory blends, mostly the Suntory Old and Royal. Found them quite acceptable, did not take notes but would consider them with the upper middle range of Scotch blends. I have a friend in Japan that came to Dawson every year for 13 years and always brought me a bottle of each. Some of my Scotch drinking friends at that time found them very acceptable.

I also tried out a Suntory entry level blend, now to put this in perspective, you can buy a 1.8 liter bottle of this for about $28.00 Cdn, and surprise, surprise, it was priced just right. Would avoid it if you go there.

I do think that the mid to upper end Japanese Whiskies are quite good and well worth exploring.
Danny
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Posts: 205
Joined: Wed Dec 14, 2005 1:32 am
Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Going to Japan

Postby Danny » Tue Jan 17, 2006 5:41 am

Trip was great. Traveled from as far north as Tokyo to the Southern Isle of Ishigaki, with stops at Kyoto, Nara, Osaka and Hiroshima in between.

Did not drink much whisky, mostly drank Nihonshu or as we westerners call it Sake. An amazing amount of brewers and types of this there.

I did drink some Suntory blends, mostly the Suntory Old and Royal. Found them quite acceptable, did not take notes but would consider them with the upper middle range of Scotch blends. I have a friend in Japan that came to Dawson every year for 13 years and always brought me a bottle of each. Some of my Scotch drinking friends at that time found them very acceptable.

I also tried out a Suntory entry level blend, now to put this in perspective, you can buy a 1.8 liter bottle of this for about $28.00 Cdn, and surprise, surprise, it was priced just right. Would avoid it if you go there.

I do think that the mid to upper end Japanese Whiskies are quite good and well worth exploring.
Danny
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Postby Ivar » Thu Jan 25, 2007 1:23 pm

Has anybody joined the two-day work-at-a-distillery program at Yoichi? What does it cost, and how does one apply? Any recommendations on where to stay in Yoichi?
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Postby Ivar » Thu Feb 01, 2007 2:40 pm

Have anyone of you here at the forum been to Yoichi? In that case, what are your impressions and thoughts?
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Postby Badmonkey » Sun Feb 04, 2007 9:18 pm

Hi Ivar,

I have been to Yoichi, but not since 1997 when I lived in Sapporo in my pre-whisky-drinking days. For information on accommodations, you might try contacting the Yoichi Sightseeing Association by email at yoichi-kankoukyoukai@world.ocn.ne. The town is not very far from the port city of Otaru, which has many hotels to choose from and several attractions in its own right.

When will you be going?

Craig
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Postby Ivar » Mon Feb 19, 2007 12:25 pm

Badmonkey wrote:When will you be going?


Thanks for answering, Craig;

We will be going to Japan in april 2008.
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