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Issue 41 - Whisky at ease with itself (Yamazaki)

Whisky Magazine Issue 41
July 2004

 

This article is 12 years old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.

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Whisky at ease with itself (Yamazaki)

At Yamazaki the distillery and church stand next to each other in harmony. Dave Broom witnesses whisky making at its noblest

Jet-lag does weird things to the brain, makes it seem as if you are existing in some dream state.

Though you're screaming with tiredness, you're wide awake. The mind is subtly dislocated from reality, making it seem as though you have slipped into a familiar but totally alien world.

I felt like a character in a novel by Murakami. A half-remembered movie was screening in my mind: a flight dissolving into a bullet train, a glimpse of Fuji, sushi, lifts, beer, sitting cross-legged in an old Kyoto inn, sake, a stag's head, whisky, antimacassars, samurai streets, a hotel which the morning light shows to be straddling a station.

After breakfast we go against the rush hour traffic and into the country, emerging at a quiet local station. We start to walk along the old, narrow road which weaves its way from Hiroshima to Osaka.

There's bird song, a warmth in the autumn sun. Someone is cleaning the steps of a small shrine. Tiny gardens and gables which arc like dragon tails, drooping telephone wires and shuttered inns.

The road bends back to the railway line and behind the parka of train spotters on the other side a huge, functional, brown brick building.

It's the same size and shape as an office block with odd-looking pyramids jutting out of the roof giving it the look of a strange, stylised frog.

The slightly brutal exterior is softened by carefully tended and beautifully planted gardens, through which a path leads either to the building or to the temple which lies, half-hidden...

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