Aloha Whisky in Ikebukuro

Elliott
3 min readDec 13, 2022

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.

An entire wall is Chichibu, I’ve actually never seen this much in on place before

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.

Ben Nevis 1970 43 Year Old, for Berry Brothers & Rudd — Whisk-E Japan Limited, 44.7%

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.

A pair of Kanosuke single casks

The Crane & Sky Kanosuke is a tasty but young ex-bourbon barrel for Whisky Talk Fukuoka, and it’s lovely, but the Owner’s Club from @whiskysifu is a hugely aggressive sherry bomb that gradually warms up with rest in the air — fantastically delicious.

This Kingsbury 1997 20 year old Glenlossie, cask 2059 was delicious

One new distillery to me is this Glenlossie, just a fantastic fruity dram. My favourite of the night by a long shot.

Speyside Distillery / Caol Ila / Clynelish

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.

Sakurao 1st Release Cask Strength

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:

東京都豊島区西池袋3–29–11 泉ビル 3F-B

Go check out their profile in Whisky Magazine (Japanese) or Tokyo Weekender (English)!

They are also active on SNS (FB, Instagram, and Twitter).

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Elliott

Personal interests in literature, SF, and whisky/whiskey/scotch, Software Engineer by Trade