Whisky for breakfast — the Yoichi Distillery

I mentioned in my last post that I’ve taken up drinking as a new hobby. Let me explain.

The best of the whiskies I tried while in Hokkaido. I also loved their peat version, which was nothing like it's Irish cousins.

The best of the whiskies I tried while in Hokkaido. I also loved their peat version, which was nothing like it’s Irish cousins.

For Christmas a friend sent me the book The 12 Bottle Bar. Christmas puts me in a shopping mood and I was looking for something new in 2015, so I got it into my head that I need those 12 bottles.

Mission complete, I mixed a few drinks a night, tasting things along the way. One of the first surprises was Vermouth. I’ve been using it in my cooking since I was in high school, but I’ve never drunk it. I encourage you to taste the vermouth from a FRESHLY opened bottle. The flavors are herbal and somewhat floral. I was stunned. Vermouth isn’t the kind of thing I’m going to have a glass of, but alcohol has it’s own palate of flavors I’d never taken the time to pay attention to.

So drinking is a meditative practice. πŸ˜‰

My drawing of the Nikka distillery entrance in Yoichi

My drawing of the Nikka distillery entrance in Yoichi

 

When I was looking for rye whisky (to complete my bar) I came across a bottle of Coffey Whisky which I misread as Coffee Whisky. “What’s this?”, I thought and pulled up an online review on my iPad. What I read convinced me I needed to try this with soda and, OMG, it was better than a glass of wine.

Not really a bar, but one of the two tasting stations. This one you pay for but can chose from a long list of whiskies from all over the world. It was a great opportunity to try one ounce shots of very expensive whiskies.

Not really a bar, but one of the two tasting stations. This one you pay for but can chose from a long list of whiskies from all over the world. It was a great opportunity to try one ounce shots of very expensive whiskies.

I read on that Japanese whiskeys are made to be diluted as Nikka’s Coffey Whisky most certainly is. Neat, it doesn’t deliver it’s flavor profile but thinning it out with water brought forth fruits and woods while subduing all the harshness in a hard liquor. An online review equated it with the complexity of wine and I have to agree.

When I like something I read up on it. Liking this whisky I read up on Nikka and found out that their distillery was in Hokkaido, not far from where I’d be for the Snow Festival, so I decided to pay a visit — and I’m so very glad I did.

A detail of one of the ovens in the museum.

A detail of one of the ovens in the museum.

I left by bus from Sapporo to Yoichi, a 2-hour trip, with my morning Starbucks in hand. I arrived without having eaten breakfast and by eleven I was in their very busy bar sampling a variety of whiskies Β produced by Nikka for what you might call a very Irish breakfast.

Before December 2014, if I drank six pack of beer within a year, that was heavy consumption. For breakfast I had five glasses of whisky and an apple brandy. It was a very good morning. Very good. πŸ™‚

Young people playing in the snow at their school.

Young people playing in the snow at their school.

Theres’s more to this story I want to share with you soon. Something I didn’t expect to find. I’ll try to write about it soon.

One of the store rooms where they keep the casks. Very low lighting.

One of the store rooms where they keep the casks. Very low lighting.

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13 Comments on “Whisky for breakfast — the Yoichi Distillery

  1. Jesus H. Roosevelt christ !!! – you are getting so far out of the range of normal ‘eating’ blogs as to be beyond shouting distance, Steven my lamb … How FASCINATING it all is … πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hear you about the nap. It ends up I have a high tolerance for alcohol, but on the bus ride back to the city zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

      Was it a beer microbrewery? It’d be cool to see a small scale production facility and meet the people who actually affect the end product.

      Liked by 1 person

      • OMG, I loved Samuel Adams. They were my go to beer in university — until one of my roommates started home brewing. Good times. Good times. Had to share the bathroom with a giant vat of fermenting goodness, but good times. πŸ™‚

        Like

    • It is, isn’t it.

      I’m constantly amazed at how adding or removing just one thing, like bitters, or changing the brand of something — anything — in the mix can totally alter the drink.

      You have anything I should give a try?

      Like

  2. I love the images, especially the drawing and students playing in the snow. πŸ™‚

    I drink very little alcohol but when I do it is usually a tiny amount of Amaretto. Right now I have a bottle on my desk (it was a gift) and I’ve had about four servings and the bottle still looks full. Wine… I have a few ounces of wine on occasion, maybe four or five times a year.

    Like

  3. Sounds like my kind of breakfast πŸ˜‰ Irish whiskies are not usually peated though I can recommend the Connemara if you want to try one My own favourites are the Islay malts from an island off the coast of Scotland, particularly Laphroaig

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve tried both Laphroaig (it was okay) and Ardbeg (which I liked more — if you’re going to be a flavor, go all the way I say). πŸ™‚

      I’m still getting my mouth around how to describe whiskies vs bourbons vs scotch. Plus I’m American, so geography isn’t my strong suit. πŸ™‚

      Now I have an image of you relaxing in your garden, a dog on either side and a high ball glass with amber goodness.

      Liked by 1 person

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