Whisky Magazine Issue 19
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Taylor Smisson claims that Scotland doesn't have the monopoly on world-class Scotch malt whisky bars and visits Tokyo's The Speyside Way bar to prove his point
Where can you find the best Scotch malt whisky bars in the world? You would think that you were being foolish if you didn't immediately say anything other than Scotland. Not necessarily, for there is another country rich in bars that stock a myriad of whiskies that quench the thirst of that particular nation's discerning malt drinkers. However, if you had to think which country this was you would be likely to be deliberating for sometime.
Japan has some of the best Scotch malt whisky bars in the world, a fact largely unknown by even the inhabitants of the land of the rising sun. Tokyo alone has over 30 bars which have selections of 100 or more Scotch malt whiskies and there are several with over 300. To keep this many bars in business, it is obvious that Japan also has a large number of malt whisky enthusiasts. To understand the seeming paradox of the popularity of malt whisky in the land of sake and shochu, it's a good idea to visit one of these whisky bars and talk to the owner – Toru Suzuki, Manager of The Speyside Way, for example.
From the moment you open the door and enter Suzuki's bar you know that you have not just stepped into any Tokyo bar but
a place to worship Scotch, Scotland and the sultire. Any malt enthusiast would immediately be dumbstruck by the sheer volume of whisky on display – evenProfessor Stephen Hawkings would have to re-write his theories on physics, space and dimension to understand how so much can be packed into such a small space. On four sh...