Whisky Magazine Issue 59
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Dave Broom gives us his guide to staying ,eating,drinking and visiting in Japan
Japan is disorienting, bewildering, exciting and, occasionally, a little alarming. No matter how many times you visit the country, no matter how much you think you can more or less understand how it works, you can be guaranteed that it will throw you some sort of cultural curveball.
It could be food or a film, it could be a building, it could be the clothes which the teenage fashion victims are wearing – it could even be whisky.
Japan has long been a whisky drinking and whisky making nation. Though the market has faced some tough times in recent years, the signs are that the spirit is once again finding favour with consumers, especially malt whiskies. As it does, so its use is changing. Old Japan-hands will recount tales of how business deals would always be sealed with a bottle of a Japanese blend. Whisky was the salaryman's choice of tipple, it was what was given as a gift to friends, colleagues, clients and bosses.
These days however things have changed.
While the suits will still enjoy being served their own bottle by beautiful bar girls in their own (sometimes) select and (often) secret bars, there is a new, younger consumer who is drinking malt and some blends in clubs and top end bars – some of which are dedicated to the spirit. In many ways, Japan is reflecting what is happening across the world – there is a new, marketing savvy, premium-oriented consumer out there who wants quality.
As a result of this, Japanese distillers are becoming increasingly proacti...