Thursday, June 15, 2017

Whisky Japan: The Essential Guide to the World's Most Exotic Whisky by Dominic Roskrow

Whisky Japan: The Essential Guide to the World's Most Exotic Whisky is a sad book.

Don't get me wrong - it's an amazing book. But it's sad because it is also clear that so much of the amazing stuff described is going or gone. Specific age single malts from Nikka are gone. Bottles are investments not tasting delights. The future - at least how it will play out for whiskies - remains to be determined.

Whisky Japan tells you everything you ever wanted to know about how the Japanese Whisky industry came to be. It offers loving portraits of the distilleries. It offers mouth watering descriptions and stories of the whiskies themselves. It's a beautiful book.

One fact in Whisky Japan that shocked me was that hardly a decade ago there was a fear that Japanese whisky had no future - for very different reasons. Demand was down and production was cut back. Now there is not enough aging whisky stock and that fuels the uncertain future - especially in the face of a booming global demand for what is a near perfect approach to whisky. 

There's still a chance that a new age of whisky wonders will come in a decade or so. If anyone can deliver it is the Japanese. The demand is there is to drive it. Only time will tell if Whisky Japan is a snapshot at the transition or the sad story along a golden age that never returned.

So it’s a sad book. But it’s also a glad book. And it’s worth a read if you love Japanese whisky.

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