Post by Stefan of Tokyo Whisky Hub
Sushi + Soul”.
Chris first came into contact with Japanese cuisine in 1991 and discovered Japanese whisky shortly after, on his first trip to Japan. He’s still got a few bottles of Golden Horse and some old Suntory whiskies from that trip stowed under the counter. When he opened Sushi + Soul in 1999, there were only a handful of Nikka and Suntory blends available in Europe, so he started with a meager 15 bottles in his bar. Over the years, friends, people who worked for him and even guests brought bottles over directly from Japan. Japanese flight attendants, in particular, played a crucial role in expanding his range of Japanese whiskies. Imagine that.
Around the turn of the century, with the proliferation of information about Japanese whisky on the internet, it became a little easier for interested parties abroad to figure out how to get hold of special releases. This, according to Chris, was the “golden age” for him and his colleagues in Europe: distributors and people in the bar trade in Europe had become aware of the quality of Japanese whisky, but the average consumer and most whisky enthusiasts/collectors hadn’t caught on yet. It often happened that entire allocations for the German market ended up behind the bar at Sushi + Soul. Then, Japanese whiskies started taking top prizes at international whisky competitions and awareness and interest spread.
Well, there you have it: a place worth making a serious detour for. In our next instalment, we’ll take you to Hong Kong and introduce an exciting new bar that just opened a few weeks ago. Stay tuned.