We're going big tonight at Martin's West. Tonight, beginning at 6 PM, you can come and order a whole glass of 1984 Yamazaki Japanese Single Malt Whiskey (a $600+ dollar bottle) and it will cost you about $20. That's less than the average glass of Macallan 15 at most places. We are only purchasing one bottle, so that leaves 26 pours available for the first 26 people who show up. Unfortunately we cannot reserve pours in advance.
If you're new to Japanese whiskey and you're wondering why this is such a big deal, let me tell you first that the Yamazaki was the megahit of WhiskyFest SF. It was the first bottle everyone who attended the advance VIP session went to try. I was there early and I still wasn't able to taste it - the bottle was drained within 15 minutes. Interest in Japanese whiskey has reached a fever pitch stateside, so getting to try something new, especially something rare, is a big deal.
Neyah White, the brand ambassador for Suntory, recently told me that the 1984 was just awarded best whiskey in the world at a recent Whisky Magazine blind tasting, where it went up against the big boys of Scotland and took them down unanimously. What makes the 1984 so different?
To me, it's the heavy use of ultra-expensive Japanese Oak barrels that comes through in the flavor. Having tasted the 1984 a few months back, I picked up sandlewood, curry, even Indian spices and I couldn't figure out where these flavors were coming from. Neyah informed me that these profiles were indicitive of the wood and they were exactly why Japanese oak barrels are amazing vestibules for malt whiskey. However, due to the rarity of the wood, the fact that coopering it is next to impossible, and the amount of leakage that occurs due to its porousness, aging whiskey in Japanese oak is neither easy, nor cost effective - that makes it exclusive.
There are not many bottles of 1984 Yamazaki in the states right now so I'm looking forward to drinking one with you all tonight! See you there.