Friends! It’s a whisky-heavy column this week! Welcome back! This week we take a look at the rise of Japanese Whisky, Glenfiddich is expanding its experimental series, David Wondrich makes the case for drinking more Gin Alexanders, and the private barrel game shows no signs of letting up. Enjoy!
Sometimes, it’s nice to escape reality for a bit. And for that, Sims is always a good call. Now you can indulge in your booziest form of ignoring the world. The game is called Terroir: A Wine Making Tycoon Game and allows the user to build their own virtual vineyard and wine estate. “Players grow different varieties of grapes, manage the vineyard, craft wine, oversee the business, and manage the estate. The game offers a variety of features that are characteristic of actual wine making. Players can choose from a variety of grapes to make anything from a bold red to a crisp white, and make the wine through crushing, fermentation, pressing, and aging. Adding to the reality, players also have to contend with the weather, which is based off of Bordeaux’s actual weather patterns”. Consider our weekend saved.
The Rise of Japanese Whisky
The South Morning China Post interviewed three Hong Kong bartenders on their favourite Japanese whisky. “Japanese whiskies mature faster, giving them a more rounded, smoother flavour, and distillers are more willing to experiment than in Scotland. We talk to the experts about why they are becoming more popular”. Masahiko Endo, bartender-owner of Mizunara, believes that some customers might just be chasing a trend. He does have a theory on why Japanese whisky is so popular though ““Japan has four seasons and big diversity of temperature. That means casks used for whisky are breathing, meaning expanding and shrinking, a lot more than Scotland.
Therefore, maturation is going faster – maybe that’s one of the reasons Japanese whisky is so smooth and mild.” Club Qing’s owner Aaron Chan thinks that Japanese whisky’s success is refinement ““The reason I enjoy Japanese whiskies is [that] I find them very refined and well crafted – much like balanced and elegant traditional Japanese cuisine”. The market for Japanese whisky was largely domestic before 2000, it expanded in 2001 when Nikka’s 10-year-old Yoichi single malt won Whisky Magazine’s Best of the Best award. “According to Broom, its recent popularity means there’s now a temporary shortage of mature Japanese whisky, but he believes balance will be restored before too long. Reserves of Japanese whisky are unlikely to run out anytime soon”.
Glenfiddich Extends its Experimental Series
With the launch of a single malt whisky that’s finished in Canadian ice wine casks the new Glenfiddich is called Winter Storm. The whisky is 21 years old and is described as “a short, crisp premium liquid imbued with a unique layer of sweetness and complexity”. Glenfiddich’s malt master Brian Kinsman created this whisky after a trip to Canada in 2016 where he toured the Peller Estate vineyards where grapes are picked at night when the temperature drops to -10˚C. Only the rarer whiskies, aged 21 or older, could cope with the extra icewine intensity. Kinsman says “Having more tannins, extracted from years in oak, these malts brought out a uniquely fresh lychee note instead of being swamped by sweetness.” Glenfiddich Winter Storm joins Glenfiddich IPA Experiment and Glenfiddich Project XX, which both launched in 2016.
Why You Should Be Drinking a Gin Alexander
Last week David Wondrich made a case for the Gin Alexander: a cocktail made from gin or brandy, rème de cacao and heavy cream was invented in the early 1910s. At the time, cream was a common cocktail ingredient. It morphed its way through the world, at some point called Panama, and when Harry MacElhone included it in his drink manual he used gin instead of brandy. “By the 1960s, the Brandy Alexander had become the sort of drink that newbies and old soaks drank: a place to hide alcohol and cushion its landing in the stomach. It’s in the suitcase of old drinks that the cocktail revolution left behind as it stepped into the 21st century. But here’s the thing: it’s damn tasty. You might not want three of them, but an Alexander, made with one of the lighter, more interesting new gins, can be a surprisingly pleasant drink, not too sweet and even a little bit bracing”. And there you have it, recipe follows here.
Private Barrel Selection Shows no Signs of Slowing Down
“Distilleries such as Buffalo Trace, Knob Creek and Elijah Craig have found a way to highlight single-barrel whiskies that ordinarily wouldn’t reach consumers through private barrel selections made by bars and bartenders across the country”. Imbibe writes that to begin the process, buyers visit distillery rickhouses and sample a range of earmarked single-barrels. They select their favorites, which is then poured into 20 cases and marked with stickers which declare the barrel belonging to a certain bar. This can cost anywhere between $3,000 and can run as high as $15,000. Generally, this is a trend that continues to grow.
Bildquelle: Photo via Shutterstock