We at dekantā have been in contact with an industry insider, Nakai san asking him to share with us his views on the many aspects of Japanese whisky. This time, he tells us how to pair the Yamazaki and Hakushu with food. Let’s give him the word:

Most people in the West like to enjoy their whisky on its own, perhaps with small snacks like nuts or raisins, but ultimately on its own. We Japanese on the other hand tend to drink it with food. It goes without saying that undiluted whisky is too strong to be very good with food, but diluted whisky on the other hand is quite another story.

These days, highballs are by far the most popular way in Japan to enjoy whisky. Highball has long been popular in Japan, especially with food. The fashion mostly started with young people in their 20’s, older people soon caught on and Suntory even marketed re-triangular soda bottle especially for blending with their whisky.

As in most countries, beer has for a long time been the most popular alcoholic drink, especially with food. Highball has however been gaining popularity, when it comes to quality whiskies like Yamazaki or Hakushu from Suntory, one should choose carefully which to use with which food, this is after all, good expensive whisky.

When it comes to Suntory, we have the rich and sweet flavor of the Yamazaki on one hand,
and the smoky, yet dry flavor of the Hakushu on the other hand. Both of them go excellently with Japanese food. The Yamazaki goes especially well with fried chicken and seasoned foods. In Japan, we have something called Izakaya which are traditional Japanese drinking establishments that also serve small dishes with drinks. Any good Izakaya will have Yamazaki and Hakushu highballs, so if you are getting seasoned foods there, especially chicken (JP. Yakitori) be sure to order Yamazaki with it. The Hakushu on the other hand is perfect for seafood, as well as salty foods, and food that uses a lot of soya sauce. As you might know many Japanese dishes fit this description, so, if you are having sushi or sashimi for example try a Hakushu highball with it!

Henry Baldvin