...where distraction is the main attraction.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Malt Bar South Park, the second night, part one

Malt Bar South Park posts
1. Bar introduction
2. Night One
3. Night Two, part one
4. Night Two, part two

My second trip to Malt Bar South Park marked my final Japanese bar stop. I found my way to the Nakano bar using a printed-out map and my memory. Parts of my cellphone didn't work that night, nor the next. (Frankly, fuck my Samsung Galaxy S6 for being useless when I was lost and in trouble during this trip. I'm happily ridding myself of it this week.) For instance, neither my wireless or data worked that night. Neither did the keyboard. Neither did the power, at times. But the camera randomly functioned (as you'll see below), until it didn't.

As a result the notes for this night were handwritten on the back of the map...until my brand new pen ran dry.

Despite these issues, this experience was awesome. I'll add the narrative for your enjoyment.

After I'd bypassed Malt Bar South Park, again, I found it, then rushed down the stairs to find shelter. Fujita-san was still behind the bar. Everything was still spotless.

The seat at the center of the bar had a "RESERVED" card, which I dumbly and Americanly didn't see as I sat down on it. The owner's wife hurried over to politely ask me to move to another seat, explaining that a special guest was expected to arrive soon. So I thought it would be a great idea to plant my ass next to this mystery person's seat.

After getting another great plate of fruits and nuts and dark chocolate, I began with an Ardmore from an independent bottler that does its business only on that side of the Pacific Ocean.

Ardmore 16 year old 2000 The Whiskyfind for Mash Tun Tokyo, cask 800214, 55.5%abv

Color - light amber
Nose - Very fruity. Lychee, Meyer lemon, apricot and barbecued peach(?). Mild peat, subtle vanilla. Wet sheep!
Palate - More smoke here. Tangy and lemony, with a nice sprinkle of cayenne pepper. From my notes: "Sweet, though almost out of its baby fat phase." Yes, this was my first drink.
Finish - Smoke, lemon and sugar. There was something Hakushu-ish about it.

Words: This is a good intro for drinkers new to Ardmore thanks to its lemons and beachy peat. Despite its 16 years, there was no oak interrupting the flow. I liked it.
Grade: 85

Sherried Inchgower!
Inchgower 32 year old 1980 The Whisky Agency, refill sherry butt, 52%abv

Color - gold, Jerry
Nose - Chocolate fudge, chocolate frosting, chocolate pudding. Nutty pudding. Leather. #FromMyNotes "Nummy sulfur".
Palate - Chocolatey, similar to the nose, but there's also pineapple and peaches. Smoked paprika. Fresh ginger and lychee. Its fruitiness grows with time. Just a whisper of gunpowder, like a seasoning.
Finish - The fruit remains in the finish, shedding the chocolate. Some new notes of oranges and nuts. A hint of smoke.

Words: A treat. The chocolate is a bit heavy on the nose. Though that sounds silly as a complaint, the chocolate's weight prevents additional depth. The whisky is at its best once the fruit comes through in the mouth. (And no, I have no idea what the heck Serge was drinking when he reviewed this, an issue I've been finding with increasing frequency.) But this whisky would be great for dessert.
Grade: 87

I had to do it. One 1978, please.
Tomatin 35 year old 1978 Cadenhead small batch, bourbon hogsheads, 44.4%abv

Color - light gold
Nose - Dunnage. Musty melons. Chalk. Mangoes. Canned peaches and pears. A biscuity malty note. It picks up some oomph with time.
Palate - It's as thick as a liqueur. Loaded with fresh peaches and mangoes. The fruits' essences rather than sugars. Dunnage! A hint of herbal bitterness.
Finish - All tropical and stone fruits, playing separately, then together.

Words: Yes, this was a small batch and, yes, that ABV is accurate. Cadenhead has a few of these '78s with low abv. The result is whisky concentrate. And it is fab. Romantic, even.
Grade: 92

So there I was, sipping on this whisky, looking like a total baller, when the special guest walked in.

To be continued...


  1. Regarding that inchgower, glad to see something positive about it. I passed on it while it was in an affordable range on auction due to Serge's notes being my only ref point. Will be on the look out again. Dont forget about the bourbon in japan.

    1. That Inchgower has a broad range of grades from the whiskybase community, but none were as low as Serge's. Its sulfur level is minor, if you're concerned about that part. And the sherry cask's influence is pretty thick.

      Regarding bourbon, that made up the majority of what I brought back from the trip. The bourbon prices and selection remain great there.