Bottle Keep Nikka 12.

Bottle keep is simple, you buy the bottle and the bar/club keeps it for you. This has been a common practice in Japan for 30+ years. In the 1980’s it was very popular as clients would frequent the same bar night after night. Drinking in Japan is a normal pastime and is still popular in many parts of Japan and particularly in major cities.

While sitting at the Highlander bar in Tokyo, I had the chance to ask about whiskey and the rising popularity of Japanese Yamazaki 12-year-old whiskey. Recently whiskey expert Jim Murray awarded a record-equalling 97.5 marks out of 100 to Suntory’s Yamazaki Single Malt Sherry Cask 2013, hailing it as “near indescribable genius” in his comments in the forthcoming 2015 World Whiskey Bible.

I heard about this whiskey, and asked the bar tender for a shot. I was stopped by my friend who hinted to his bottle keep and said, “this is better”. I took a glass on the rocks and it was smooth as can be, rich and woody, hints of sherry cask and smoke.

While I have no idea, I thought this is one very good whiskey. Japanese whiskey is limitless and is almost as much a part of their culture as fish.