There’s nothing as exciting as the feel of the warm sun at the beginning of spring which takes us back outsides after months of chilling winter. In Japan annual Hanami celebrations -meaning admiring flowers are famous. Also, they are cherry blossom festival which runs from the end of March to end of April.
The festival which was borrowed from China during the first century. It allows the Japanese people to meet together in parks as family and friends and enjoy meals and drinks together. As the archipelago becomes painted with pink flowers during spring, something stands out as the people of Japan celebrate; drink. The consumption of alcoholic beverages becomes the in thing at this time especially sake, beer and Japanese whiskey. But the question remains, why sake and Japanese whiskey?
In the beautiful green rainforest populated by bamboo trees, while clear streams of water run through maple trees as the Suntory’s Yamazaki distilleries erect itself from the edge of the serene forest. Being the oldest distillery in Japan, Yamazaki has been able to place Japanese whisky to the global charts of world best whisky.
With Japan being known for her endless connection with nature, Yamazaki has continually mentioned that the secret to her tantalizing whiskey is its pure water. In 2015 famous critic Jim Murray name Sherry cask Yamazaki as whiskey of the year. And this led to a hike in demand for the whiskey and other Japanese whiskeys in the global market to the extent of making it scarce. Today Suntory leads in the production of Japanese whisky. Brands produced include Yamazaki, Toki, Hakushu and Hibiki.
It is also clear that in Japan whiskey is consumed in three main ways; as a staple, as a shortcut to high and as a symbol of status. As a staple, Japanese whiskey in the vending machine already mixed with soda or water alongside other essential products such as underwear, chocolate bars etc. Also, as a status, whiskey is mostly a choice of gift in the corporate world.
It’s a Japanese alcohol drink by using fermented rice. The alcohol content usually is around 15%. With rice and cuisine being essential meals in Japan, sake is always an escort in such meals. And this makes it almost a staple drink. As the Japanese cuisine has made rounds all-round the globe, so has sake. According to Japanese, the foundation of good sake is quality rice, Koji mold, yeast and clean water. It is also salient to mention that sake come in varied flavors. And they are well served with almost any meal.
During the cherry blossom festival, sake is paired up with cherry to bring out a crisp and bold cocktail which is deep red.
With the growing interconnectedness of the world, Japanese whiskey continues getting accolades. And it often beating Scotland which its original creators saw as a whiskey mentor. In 2003 Yamazaki 12 year took home the gold for the international spirit challenge. And in 2016 Hibiki, which is another of Suntory label won for the fourth time in the world’s best-blended whiskeys awards.
It is evident that Japanese whiskey is something worth sorting for and blessing your tongue with. For best whiskey seek Suntory Yamazaki distillers.