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October 30, 2012

Whisky Business: Japanese Whisky at London’s Roast

By Pardhasaradhi Gonuguntla

London, UK – Reported by Elite Traveler, the private jet lifestyle magazine

Whisky is big business in Japan. So big in fact that Japan is now the second biggest producer of single malt whisky in the world—beaten only by Scotland. So if you’re in London and partial to a dram, you may want to get cozy at Roast bar and restaurant, which boasts one of the best collections of Japanese whisky in the capital.

Whisky production began in Japan in the late 19th century, at a time when Japan’s elite fell in love British high society. Japanese Imperial princes mothballed their kimonos in favor of Savile Row suits, and whisky became a more refined alternative to sake. Japan’s first single malt distillery was opened in 1924 by Shinjiro Torii, a liquor merchant, and Masataka Taketsuru, who had mastered the art of distilling in Scotland. The young Taketsuru had only planned to stay in Glasgow for the summer of 1919 to study chemistry, but a year later returned to Japan with a Scottish wife and a passion for whisky.

Torii and Taketsuru chose Yamazaki near Kyoto for their distillery, knowing that good whisky needs good water—the area is so famous for its water that 16th century tea master Sen no Rikyū built his tea room here. And so Suntory whisky was born, a brand that today can hold its head high among its Scottish rivals.

Among the Japanese whiskies at Roast you’ll find the Hakushu single malts (aged 12 years and 18 years), the Yamazaki single malt (aged 18 years), the 17-year-old Hibiki blended whisky, and a trio of fragrant Hibiki whiskies infused with lilies, sultana & vanilla, and orange & cinnamon. The headlight act, however, is the 25-year-old Yamazaki—voted by Whisky Magazine as the World’s Best Single Malt 2012, and very hard to come by in London.

For an introduction to these Eastern tipples, Roast is running a series of tasting sessions on November 19th and December 12th 2012, and January 16th 2013. The hour-long classes cost £60 per person and include background notes on each whisky.

Phone: +44 (0)845 034 7300
Address: The Floral Hall, Stoney Street, London SE1 1TL, UK

See more top London restaurants in the Elite Guide to London

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