When you think of Japan, whisky isn’t typically the first thing that comes to mind. Usually it’s samurai, sushi, sake bombs, schoolgirl outfits, bukakke and tentacle porn. While I thoroughly enjoy all of those things, a much lesser-known staple of Japan is their world-class whisky.
Whisky production originally began in Japan during the 1870s. There’s probably some kind of correlation involving the spread of Western culture and commerce there, but I’m too lazy to figure it out. It might have something to do with the fact that Abraham Lincoln (along with George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin) all had liquor licenses and actively participated in the liquor trade. Takeaway: our founding fathers liked to get shit-housed, and therefore it is part of the American Dream.
For the most part, Japanese whisky follows the traditional process of Scottish whisky. Until recent years, however, no one gave a fuck about Japanese whisky, mostly because America and Scotland are the liquor powerhouses of the world.
This began to change in the early 2000s when Japanese distilleries began winning world competitions over Scottish and American participants. Surprisingly, our Pacific pals are better at more than just hunting whales, producing uncomfortable anime, and making peace signs in pictures. Sake (which tastes like licking an envelope) is just a small part of what Japan has to offer alcoholics worldwide.
Scotland on the other hand, has been running a train on the liquor game since the late 1400s. The term “whisky” actually comes from the Gaelic word “usquebaugh,” meaning water of life, as if you needed another reason to believe that every Highlander is a raging sauce lord. I’m inclined to agree with the Celtic people on this one. Whisky is the essence of life.
You may be wondering why the fuck I’m mentioning these two countries in the first place. Turns out, they’re putting their talents together to create the world’s first Japanese Scotch whisky. The new spirit is named “The Glover.” Surprisingly, the name doesn’t stem from whisky’s knack for protecting you from unsafe sex by turning your dick into an unbaked breadstick. Rather, the name comes from the Scottish merchant Thomas Blake Glover.
Apparently this guy did a lot of epic shit in Japan. He sold guns, built the first Western-style house, founded a brewing company, and started a shipping company. That brewery later became Kirin, and that shipping company later became Mitsubishi. That’s not even the end of it – the dude became known as the “Scottish Samurai” because he paired up with rebellious samurai clans across Japan. This guy was singlehandedly more American than most Americans I know. Names like “Evan Williams” and “Jack Daniels” pale in comparison to “the Glover.”
The whisky is a combo deal of the rarest and finest Scottish and Japanese whiskies. Apparently it’s pretty good, too. The distillery describes the flavor as “autumn gold, with oak lights; a fresh aroma of peat smoke, seaside, with almonds, green apples, orange pith and honey flapjacks. Black currants, lingering chimney smoke, maritime; smooth, mellow and sophisticated.”
The only flavors that are missing from the description are the subtle hints of “victory over tyranny,” “capitalism,” and “unprotected sex with 10s.”
This cross-cultural steamroller of a whisky isn’t cheap, however. They only sell two variations: a bottle aged 14 years retailing at $110, and a bottle aged 22 years retailing at $1,100.
As for me, I’m already saving up. Don’t get me wrong – I am always first in line for shots of SoCo, even if it does taste like cough syrup manufactured in a Malaysian’s backyard.
If you’re still on the fence about it, ask yourself this: would you rather your whisky evoke the liquid courage of a drunk super-senior at a pledge party, or would you rather it evoke courage reminiscent of William Wallace and Miyamoto Musashi?.
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