Nikka Distillery

I am a big fan of single malt whisky. With Scottish ancestors, I thought - with some degree of certainty - that only the Scots could make the stuff. Since finding that the Japanese can actually outdo the Scots at their own game, I have become a firm fan of Japanese Single Malt. The one I like most - and there are only 3-4 good ones in Japan - is that made in Hokkaido by the Nikka distillery. They have a great single malt named after the town they are located in - Yoichi. They actually encourage people to come and visit, so on a recent trip over “Golden Week” to Hokkaido, we took a special trip to Yoichi to see the place and sample some of the produce. The distillery itself could have moved complete from Scotland - it looked the part for sure. It has become quite famous domestically in Japan due to a television series made about the founder - Taketsuru - and his Scottish wife. Called “Massan” it has become a feature of daytime TV and is (supposedly) the cause of Japanese whisky becoming scarce even in Japan. I think it is the Chinese tourists buying it all to take back to China.

I took along my Hasselblad - which is heavy, unwieldy and a pain to use as you need a light meter. Not sure I will do that again. Loaded with Kodak Portra 400 negative film, I am happy with the results. Once again, I sent the films over to Richard Photo Labs in the US and am very happy with the results……

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The logo of the distillery. My wife thought the sheaf of wheat was a bagpipe……

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Of course this is Japan - so I had to join a tour - with a flag. And a megaphone.

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It gets cold here, so stone building are a must.

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As are round to[ doors - although I doubt if that due to the cold.

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In this case a very small one.

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It is a working factory, so we could not go everywhere.

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In fact no humans were allowed in some parts.

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Being Japan they had instructions what to do in the event of an earthquake. I would run for the whisky storage by preference.

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It is on the banks of a nice river - water being a key ingredient.

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And the Sakura (cherry blossom) was out - 1 month after Tokyo.

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Of course I did some shopping for whisky that cannot be found in Tokyo.

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Rural Japanese towns are not a pretty sight…..

© David Runacres 2014