We are delving into the world of Japanese whisky, taking a look at what makes it one of the most talked about drinks on the market!
Yes, you heard it right, Japan is the up and coming force in world whisky. Gone are the days where sushi restaurants would be the only provider of Japanese beverages, with them now being a crucial part of any bar’s armoury.
Inspired by scotch whisky, the world has Masakata Taketsuru’s obsession with the Highlands blends to thank for the Yamazaki and Hibiki that we enjoy today. The legend has it the chief distiller of Yamazaki vowed nearly 100 years ago upon completing a tour of Scotland to not give up until he had made Japanese Whisky the world’s best – well he’s now not far off!
But which one?
Yes, there is now a vast array of Japanese whisky to choose from, but personal favourite at Cheers London is the 18 year Yamazaki. A texture to match the finest Scotch out there, drink it neat, and let it guide your night.
Of course, you should not limit your palette there. Hibiki and Nikkei stand up to the very finest of tests, and should not be ignored!
Wales may not have a national drink but they are definitely giving the Scots a run for their money with their whisky offering!
Penderyn is currently the only whisky made in Wales. The distillery produces award-winning single malt whiskies in the foothills of the Brecon Beacons in South Wales.
Their drinks are available in bars across the capital and whether you’re Welsh or not they’re well worth a try. Their range varies from sweet and smokey to smooth and fresh – and all easy to drink.
At the bar for Penderyn Madeira Finish (46%). This whisky is the original Penderyn ‘house style’. It’s light, fragrant, delicate, floral and sweet with a balanced oaky character.
For something a little different why not try Penderyn ‘That Try’ (41%). It commemorates one of the greatest rugby tries ever seen, by Gareth Edwards for the Barbarians against New Zealand on January 27 1973.
It’s a sweet and smoky whisky with mild aromas of peat smoke and gives pleasure from the very first sip.
You can buy the Penderyn range at major retailers including Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose. It’s also available at The Whisky Exchange in Covent Garden and on their website.
Bored of traditional pancakes with sugar and lemon? As it’s Whisky Week we’re breaking the norm with these super easy whisky sauce recipes! Simply pour them over your favourite pancakes for an indulgent treat!
Whisky Maple and Bacon Syrup
8 oz thin-sliced bacon, diced and cooked crisp
350ml maple syrup
1 shot rye whisky
1. Put all ingredients in a small saucepan and place over low heat until it just comes to a simmer.
2. Take off the heat and if the syrup is too hot, it runs thin, so serve when just warm. Makes approximately 1 ¾ cups. Keep it in the fridge and use within one week.
Fruity Whisky Sauce
2 tbsp honey
3 tbsp whisky
150g fresh strawberries
1. Pour the orange juice into a frying pan and add the honey and butter. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the whisky.
2. Pour over pancakes and sprinkle sliced strawberries on top.
Cheat your way to a boozy, meaty, sinful pancake day!
If you don’t feel like making pancakes today then get down to The Book Club in Shoreditch to try their very own Whisky Maple Syrup Pulled Pork Pancakes!
Whisky is the latest of our featured drinks, and comes with more complications then getting around London on tube strike day. Have no fear though, as we guide you through the basic steps in our idiots guide to whisky.
1) Whisky vs Whiskey
Trying to impress someone by ordering a sophisticated dram of whisk(e)y? Rule number one, don’t get the nationality wrong! Scotland and Ireland have dominated the distallary scene for years, and pride runs strong through the veins of both nations! It really is simple though:
Whiskey – the ‘e’ signals an Irish/American origin
Whisky – spelt without an ‘e’ means it is scotch based, and therefore originates from our Northern neighbours
One simple piece of knowledge ensuring you survive a night out in an Irish bar!
2) Peaty vs Smokey
The pre-eminent aromas of whisky language! Get this one wrong and your facial expression will immediately give away your disdain to the flavour. Choose your weapon wisely!
I will keep it simple – peaty flavour is like the tabacco of the cigar, whilst smokey is well, the smoke part!
3) To Ice or Not To Ice? That is the question
A certain amount of respect goes out to any customer who orders a whisky neat, yet there is a certain sense of Je ne sais qoui about ordering ‘on the rocks’.
Which is for you though?
Much debate surrounds this topic, but in my mind it is best to keep it simple!
Whisky has a long and adventurous history. With nearly 500 hundred brands of whisky across the world, how do you know where to start? Here at CheersLondon we’ll unlock the mystery behind whisky and why we think this Scottish malt is a go to classic!
John Dewar & Sons
So who was John Dewar? One of the most famous names in Scotch whisky, John Dewar & Sons was established in Perth, Scotland in 1846. Whisky was and always has been at the heart of the business.
How whisky became a success story?
The 19th century was the boom for whisky trading, and sons of John Dewar Alexander and Tommy built built Aberfeldy distillery between 1896 and 1898 to provide malt for blending purposes.
But hard times were still to come, and the company financially struggled during the 20th century ultimately merging with rivals James Buchanan & Co in 1915 to form Buchanan-Dewar.
In 1925 the company became part of the global Distillers Company Ltd (DCL) and later sold to Bicardi in 1998.
Today, John Dewar & Sons currently employs near to three hundred people at seven highland distillery locations.
So what does this whisky taste like?
Firstly on the nose you get an overwhelmingly toasty smell, toffee nut with a malt flavour and smoky aromas. The palette is a little fuller, barley undertones. A hint of honey comes through reflecting the colour of the blend.