Cheers-Nov-Dec 2016

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Page 22 of 63 23 November/December 2016 • ASIAN APPEAL Whisky can be, and is, made in many parts of the world: France, Germany, Australia, Finland, Sweden and Wales—to name just a few. Currently in vogue are whiskies from Asia—Japan, India and Taiwan. "Asian whiskies have been hitting the news hard these days," says Beadle at Small Batch. He has a Taiwanese whisky but hasn't seen much demand yet. "There's huge interest in Japanese whisky," reports Harris. When The Wren opened Harris didn't stock any Japanese malts until a group of twenty-somethings came in asking for them, she recalls. "Whisky drinkers tend to be experimental. For sure, the Millennial market is always looking for the next new thing, and that seems to be Asian now." Casa Fuente in Las Vegas invested in the category in a big way, buying by the barrel. The cigar lounge inside The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace became the first drinking establishment in the North American market to own a private barrel of Asian whisky when it secured a barrel of Kavalan Taiwanese whisky last fall. "With Asian whiskies being one of the hottest categories in spirits right now, it seemed like the place to start," says Michael Frey, proprietor of Casa Fuente. Frey has had great success with Jack Daniel's Single Barrel program. Since the Japanese distilleries didn't have barrel programs yet, Max A. Solano, beverage program specialist, whiskey and spirits educator at distributor Southern Glazers Wine & Spirits of Nevada, reached out to Kavalan Distillery in Taiwan for Fuete. "Our barrel is unique, balanced with a lot of depth. The whisky was matured in an oloroso sherry cask for over five years, it is complex with a rich sherry, fig and raisin nose," says Frey. The whisky is served neat, priced $29 for a 1-½ oz. pour; $200 for the bottle. Casa Fuente carries 80 whiskeys, 38 from Scotland and 38 from the U.S.; the rest are Irish and Canadian. At The Littlefield, Ford invested in a case of Suntory's Hibiki about six months ago. "Cincinnati is not always on the cutting edge of trends," he says, but he decided to jump. He bought a case because he had heard that the expression would sell out. "If a whisky is rare, customers get interested," notes Ford. "And if I am the only one left with a bottle, I can price it accordingly." COOL AND RARE "The younger crowd who wants to be on the cutting edge; they are drinking Scotch because it's cool," says Harris. "They like to talk about what they are drinking and Instagram it." The Wren's import list tends toward the esoteric, bottles other places in the neighborhood don't have. Harris is excited about a rise in artisanal Irish whiskey. As an example, she cites Teeling Whiskey, a young company that opened the first distillery in Dublin in 40 years and produces unusual variations. "It's the whiskey bar version of a Mimosa." — Tim Beadle, general manager of Small Batch–Whiskey and Fare The Irish Breakfast, made with Paddy Irish whiskey, house-made clementine syrup and lemon juice, is a popular cocktail at brunch at Small Batch–Whiskey and Fare in St. Louis, MO. The imported whisky list at The Wren, a gastro- pub from the New York-based Bua Bar Group, leans toward the esoteric, including several artisanal Irish and Asian brands. "'Old man' Scotch is becoming cl again... Cuy Sark is doing a lot to reposition the brand as how to drink with your dad or your grandpa." — Pete Vasconcellos, bar director at The Penrose in New York

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