I had the chance to visit Aloha Whisky bar last evening, which is a small < 10 seat whisky bar in West Ikebukuro. It has a fantastic and affordable selection of Japanese whisky, including a ton of the big names (Yamazaki, Yoichi, Hakushu, Chichibu), as well as smaller domestic producers (Akkeshi, Akashi, Sakurao, Kanosuke, Shizuoka).
It’s not just standard bottlings, they have “Yamazaki Age Unknown”, the Suntory Essence series, old bottles of Age-stated whisky, and more.
On the American side, there were also a few guests trying a few choice bourbons and ryes that are difficult to find in most bars.
For Scotch, they have a good selection, overrepresented in Ben Nevis, a fair few Clynelish, some Daftmill, and lots of highland and speyside IB.
This Ben Nevis had a lovely nose, mint on the finish, and tasted as old as it was. Surprisingly affordable at ¥3,000 for a pour.
One new distillery to me is this Glenlossie, just a fantastic fruity dram. My favourite of the night by a long shot.
I found the sherry treatment of the Speyside Distillery 1992 Carnmor to really overwhelm the character, not a big fan. The Sherried Caol Ila was nice, and the Whisky Blues Kittenish was alright, with a bit of a rubber complexion that was off-putting, but not enough to ruin it.
Finally, I tried the Sakurao 1st release — cask strength, which is very young at just over three years, but 100% Japanese whisky, and I liked it. It had character, some peatiness, fruit, and promises a great start for the distillery.
If you want to have a nice, not terribly expensive, night out at a whisky bar, please check out Aloha Whisky! Here’s where they’re located: