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Issue 92 - In search of refreshment

Whisky Magazine Issue 92
December 2010


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In search of refreshment

WM's Japanese sister magazine, WM-J takes us out on the tiles in the ancient city of Kyoto

WM-J has been to Kyoto many times and though each period spent there was short, it was always sweet, mostly thanks to the friendliness of the bars. Many of the schemes which emerged in WM-J and at Whisky Live started over drams in the late-lamented Horii's Bar, long conversations over the future of whisky have taken place in secretive elegant salons attended by maiko (Kyoto for geisha).

Then there's K6. It strikes us that if Tokyo's bartending revolves around Ginza, then Kyoto's has K6 as its central point with many bartenders now with their own bars having started training there.

This time however we went in search of enlightened refreshment elsewhere, though we did get a chance to chat to Konishi-san, the eminence of K6, to get his take on the Kyoto scene. “It's more fun now that it was when I started 16 years ago,” he says. “There are more quality bartenders working here and if you compare Kyoto with Tokyo I'd say that there is the same quality of drinks.” He did however assert one important fact - that Kyoto drinkers are “resistant to trends. People want to drink what they want here.” With that impression of a knowledgeable, opinionated drinker in its ears WM-J headed to the 30-seater Cordon Noir, run by the enthusiastic Ono-san. Cordon Noir has been open for 18 years, but has changed its ethos since Ono-san arrived four years ago. “I love Scotch whisky,” he says preparing a Rosebank Highball (now there's class) “so I changed it from a standard cocktai...

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