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Issue 116 - Eastern Promise

Whisky Magazine Issue 116
December 2013

 

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Eastern Promise

Our man behind the stick looks for inspiration in Asia

A lot had been discussed about the new, and not so new, wave of whiskies coming out of Asia. Japan has for many a year been upsetting the Scotch purists and it's now seldom stated that it is not a premier whisky producing nation, but many of the other whiskies coming from the region are winning fans.

With this, many other Asian countries are missing the derision often previously associated with malt spirits produced outside of Scotland, the US and Ireland. To a large degree, whiskies from Taiwan, India and the like are readily appreciated without prejudice within the whisky world, and even within the general whisky consumer.

But what about mixing? I've covered before how Japanese and world whiskies lend a unique profile to mixed drinks, and how they can be a segue into using malts in cocktails, but there is something fascinating about the use of quality whisky in mixed drinks in Japan and Asia.

The first up is the wonderful hi-ball. Not only does this have amazing historical precedent, and is a key player in the history of whisky consumption, but is one of the simplest, and tastiest drinks to boot. Perfection in a glass; a great whisky opened out by minerals, water and ice: no simpler and more elegant way to demonstrate the beautiful nuances of whisky and the masterful control of a master blender. Needless to say though, it's a terrible concoction in the wrong hands. A watery mess of hooch and a lukewarm serve of limp malt. It's attention to the details that has elevated ...

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