February 12, 2015

Nikka tasting room, or why we can’t have nice things

Allen @ 2:02 am   |  Comments Off on Nikka tasting room, or why we can’t have nice things
Filed under: Japan,Travel,Whiskey


The Nikka distillery at Yoichi, Hokkaido, has a cavernous space dedicated to serving visitors tasting portions of several of their products, including apple brandy, apple juice (which was quite good, actually), 10 year whisky, and the 17 year “Tsuru” whisky.

What struck me almost immediately was that there was no system in place to discourage you from grabbing as many whiskies as you wanted. There wasn’t even anyone there checking IDs, and kids ran around practically unsupervised. There was no cover charge, no ticket system, no employee hovering over the samples, staring at you disapprovingly. In fact, the employees that manned the samples table had the attitude that they were there to make the experience as pleasant as possible, and were more than happy to serve you.

If this were in the US, this set up would probably result in utter chaos as people would grab armfuls of whiskey, get drunk, drink underage, basically treat it like a house party thrown by your worst enemy.

I don’t know what it is that stops degenerate behavior from happening here in Yoichi (a cultural emphasis on shame, moderation, appropriate behavior?), but whatever it is, our lack of it in the US pretty much means we can’t ever have nice things like this.

Oh and the Tsuru 17 year was good and had a very bourbony character, but it was not spectacularly awesome.

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