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What are you drinking?

Ohhh, thanks for the tip! I also like my gin botanical, I’ll have to keep an eye out for Roku.

As far as beer goes, I’ll believe it when I taste it, but I have no doubts Japan will innovate something mad and awesome soon.


On to the next Japanese “craft gin”. 桜尾 (Sakurao). Specifically, Sakurao Original.

This is a much more reasonable gin than the last. It is more widely available and only ¥2000 to boot. It is also more reasonable in what it expects from the drinker. It had a faintly citrus flavor profile but, in my opinion, is blended well enough that none of the component “botanicals” overpower the others. This allowed us to either use it in gin based cocktails or to drink it straight/on the rocks and enjoy it either way. It also gave it a unique flavor profile without being pushy. I could actually see myself buying this over Tanqueray, which is not something I would normally do. It’s just a solid all around gin. We finished it quickly enough that the photo is of a mostly empty bottle.
They also have a “limited” version in which they use oyster husks as one of the flavor ingredients. But it is a bit too rich for my blood at around ¥5000 a bottle.

Sakurao is, like most Japanese craft gin, made by a shochu distiller(Shochu is a distilled white liquor most often made of one of three main ingredients; sweet potato, rice, or wheat. It is usually sold at between 20~30 percent abv. Flavors range from intentionally flavor-less to strong. With rice based shochu being the most common flavor-less variety and sweet potato being the most common strongly flavored variety.) That there are shochu distillers all over Japan has probably contributed to the recent mini-boom of craft gin here. But the number of shochu distilleries producing gin is probably in the low single digit percentage. Most are content to produce just enough of their signature shochu variety to satisfy local(local as in their own town and immediate neighbors) demand. If you had the financial backing and decent enough Japanese language skill there is a book in there somewhere. I mean, there are already countless available in Japanese, but I am sure there is room for some type of English-language fancy travelog/shochu review book with lots of pretty photographs and tales of talking with "the locals. "

If you like you can peruse the competently translated Sakurao website. But I would pass for the moment on their soon to be released whiskey. At least based on the one I’ve tried, which I may write about here if I get my courage up again.

But I’ll probably crack open the last bottle of gin before that.


Dear God…:face_with_raised_eyebrow:


Do you know anything about KI NO BI Kyoto Dry Gin? Besides that it’s named after a certain Jedi Knight? There’s some available at a fancy liquor store near me, and I’m curious. But not curious enough to take a $60 plunge without trying it out or getting some more informed opinions

Gin. Any gin. And lots of it. What a shit day.

(Just crappy work stuff - I’m okay really. And I have a D&D session tonight so there is that. But I am drinking gin…)


Got to try the Gin my father got me for my Birthday, while also playing a round of Kubb. Turns out Gin doesn’t really help my aim(as does a father-in-law watching you).

I don’t have much experience with higher quality Gin (it used to be my go-to hangover and blackout drink when I was younger, the taste didn’t really matter),
but this one is nice and :lemon: and is good on the rocks without tonic.



Been there, I feel for you. :grin:

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I apologize, but all I know is that it is around $50 a bottle at my local here. It has a really slick marketing and packaging campaign. It seems to be aimed at the gift market. Giving gifts to old men for a quite varied list of occasions is a big part of life in this part of Japan. Every time I see that gin it’s labled as “the perfect gift for the old man in your life”, never as “this gin is delicious, drink it.”

For what it’s worth, every time I’ve had a chance and the budget to buy it I’ve chosen a cheaper craft gin and some beer/sake to last me the month.

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Well, seeing as I am the old man in my life, maybe I’m required to get some!


I have no interest in actually drinking this (and it’s probably illegal to sell here anyway), but I read that article and still don’t really understand what exactly it is even. Any insight? Is it beer mixed with coffee, milk, and vanilla flavouring? Is it just coffee, milk, and vanilla flavouring with a bit of clear spirits added?

My impression is that it is basically like any canned coffee beverage, but with a brewed, low alcohol malt product added. Like a Frappuccino with Zima mixed in. I will never know for sure, alas.:nauseated_face:

Sounds, um, delicious? No, that’s obviously not the right word.

It is the wrong word.

My father sent my granddad two bottles of Suntory back when I was born in 1971 which he never opened. They were purchased at the Yongsan Garrison PX and shipped halfway across the globe to Chelmsford MA. My aunt found them a few years ago and gave them to me. We opened the Very Rare Old today at work and toasted Dad’s memory. FYI, 48 years in a bottle turns even cheap scotch into a diaphanous, sublimely ethereal drink. Unbelievable. I’m saving the Special Reserve for my 50th birthday.


Do you need to restock on Florida Crystals back there?

I’m sorry, I don’t know appropriate social queues to ask about Suntory, the last time (and first time) I saw you in person both of our dads…

SEE?!?! Foot, right in the mouth. I’m an asshole.

So, here’s a picture of a $44 four-pack of beer that accidentally had a $33 bottle of beer mis-stocked inside the four-pack. The 120 Minute is kind of a rare find. I posted it above, but I wanted to show photographic evidence. (The Raison D’Extra is the accidental beer. I didn’t notice it until I got it home, and when I called the store, they didn’t want to deal with it. It was basically, “fine, you won the lottery, buddy, we have real issues to handle right now”).

Despite what Dogfish Head wants to tell you, it’s better young. It can stand cellaring/bottle conditioning, but the 120 is better with the sweetness of the malt to balance out the insane hops. Aging just makes it more dry and unbalanced.

It has both, fragrantly hoppy-bitter and malty-cake dessert, and scores a totally nut-balls ABV of 18% at any age. I’ve had some that have been resting from 2014 and 2017, and the 2017 was more yummy. (The empty one you see there? 2017. And yes, I had previously bought another 4-pack, 2014, and they are long gone now, or at least, none of you will be able to find them.)

I really need to go to bed now, I’ve been working since 1AM, and it’s 1:38PM local time and my sister’s in the hospital, we’re both uncomfortably sober.


Nope. Look in the background.

Anyway, the Suntory that we opened is like the Johnny Walker Red of Japan (at least it was back then) but all those years in the bottle mellowed it to the point that I find it difficult to describe how damned good it is now. Cask aging imparts flavor along with mellowing the harshness, but in the bottle, only the harshness goes away. There is no smokiness, no peaty flavor, just…toasted grain. No heaviness, just a hint of alcohol vapor. Even the nose just traipses into your nostrils and happily skips away without bothering anybody. It’s weird, and I love it. One of the guys here doesn’t drink whisky, but had some to be polite, and he just said that he "would if it all tasted like that".


(OK, I see it, now)

Anyway: It really does! Sure, some of it is due to evaporation in the casks, but it’s more than that.

Whiskey is one of the few types of booze that actually gets better the more you spend on it.

(Example: the cheapest vodka at Wallgreens, Coulsons, basically a generic store-brand, meets all the qualities of a high-end vodka (flavorless, odorless, clear as pure water) and is the cheapest liquor they sell. The other types of alcohol have artificial flavoring, and often a fancy logo and artificially inflated price. Whiskey (Scotch, in particular) tends to be in-line with price/quality (avoid North American Johnny Walker Black, though, it’s just regular Walker blended Scotch with added sugar and another $20 on top))


Tell me about it! :tumbler_glass::face_with_raised_eyebrow::money_with_wings:


I have inordinately strong feelings about this subject.


Ohh boy. 48 years is impressive. I think the best I’ve managed was about 2, but heat damage got the better of it. Maybe I should bury something under my house and see if I can forget about it.

I think the oldest thing I’ve ever drank was the beer my dad made and forgot about. Would have been about 30 years old when we found it. Tasted kinda like licorice. And was apparently better than when he first made it, which is entirely believable.

In any case, we had some Balvenie Doublewood over Gloomhaven yesterday. First time I’ve tried it since I’ve learnt how to water down whiskey to change the flavor. Becomes wonderfully floral / citrusy with water.


Ohhh! The Balv! Lovely, it’s become my new favorite expensive (but not f-u money expensive) whisky, although I will always hold a place in my heart for Glenmorangie.

(I can’t believe I spelled “Glenmorangie” right on the first try. I misspelled “believe” as I was writing this!)

BTW, @fodder256, do you have your dad’s recipe? We also have a brewing topic here in the forums.

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