Kansai Ramblings – Yamazaki Whisky Distillery

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Another check-mark on the Kansai bucket list.

I love whisky, and so do the Japanese.  If you don’t I doubt anything about this post will interest you much – though to be fair, Yamazaki itself is a lovely little town with canals and Shrines and water so good that Sen no Rikyuu himself built a teahouse there.  It’s that water, of course, that brought the founders of Suntory to Yamazaki to open their first distillery.

I’ve been to a couple of whisky distilleries before, most notably Edradour in Pitlochry, Scotland.  That was an order of magnitude more beautiful and quaint, but any distillery is Heaven for me.  The aroma of whisky is heavy in the air, especially in the dunnage warehouses where the barrels are stored, and it’s fascinating to see a Japanese take on this very Scottish art.

The tour itself is excellent (in Japanese but with English audio guide) and best of all, free – along with tastings afterwards.  But I would say my favorite place was definitely the Whisky Library, where one could taste a wide array of limited and unreleased whiskies from the Suntory empire (which includes many distilleries outside Japan) and beyond.  If I lived in Yamazaki I would have a very hard time staying away…

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6 comments

  1. N

    The Japanese whiskies have certainly become pretty popular and widespread in recent years. I'm pretty un-initiated when it comes to whisky but I do like the Hibiki blend, bit richer and sweeter than the Yamazaki. I'm a cider > beer kinda guy so the sweeter beverages tend to appeal more to me =P

  2. Z

    For relaxing times, make it Suntory time.

  3. e

    *Tips a Bill Murray cutout and glass in your general direction*

  4. e

    This feels rather nostalgic both on a personal and blogging level.
    Some of my grandparents' tools to make grappa and acquavite ( a.k.a. 'water of life', literally) – and the barrels – were still around during my childhood and always found them fascinating. And I remember some of your wine recs among your very early blog entried. It was those posts that spiked my curiosity in your blog back then at first actually. So… welcome back?

  5. Maybe I should have pursued that angle a little more…

  6. e

    Cherish your spirit(s)

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