Post by Stefan Van Eycken, Tokyo
The Park Hotel in Shiodome, Tokyo has been the home base of members of the SMWS in the Kanto area of Japan for a while now. The folks at the Park Hotel recently redesigned and renamed the official SMWS bar – it’s now simply Whisky Bar ‘The Society’ – and are about to launch a new collaborative series of exclusive art/whisky Society bottlings. We checked out the revamped bar and sat down with manager Kouji Nanmoku for a little chat.
Nanmoku-san spent time in New York (at the Bartenders School) and in France, but he’s been a fixture at the Park Hotel bar for almost 5 years now. Because he’s been at the stick there for a while, he knows the Society bottlings inside out, which is no mean feat, given the fact that each and everyone is uniquely different and identified by a code only. When we ask Nanmoku-san which of the recent bottles have been particular favorites of his clientele, he doesn’t need much time to think: “the recent Japanese releases (distillery codes 130, 131 and 132 – Chichibu, Hanyu and Karuizawa, resp.). All 9 bottles were empty in a matter of days, but fortunately we bought two of each, so there’s still some left!”
To illustrate his point, he reaches for bottle 29.124 ‘Pregnancy Tea Mix’, a 20yo Laphroaig. Side by side, it’s instantly clear that the cognac snifter offers a more intense experience of this particular malt than a standard whisky tasting glass. After a while, he adds a tiny bit of soda. “This Laphroaig is called ‘Pregnancy Tea Mix’, which may not mean much to the average whisky drinker, but when you add a little bit of soda, you instantly feel the connection. You get more herbal tea notes, like nettle and tarragon…”
El Chiaki’) and of course, a wide range of cocktails.”
Address: c/o Shiodome Media Tower, 1-7-1 Higashi-Shimbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-7227
The Society will be holding a special Society Malt x Craft Beer event at the newly opened BrewDog Bar Roppongi this Sunday (13 April) at 2pm. Price is 4,000 yen for members and 5,000 yen for non-members. The Art Colours Bowmore will be available for tasting there, as will the 72.33 (a 31yo Miltonduff), the 26.93 (a fabulous 28yo Clynelish) and much more.