The book world has lately become flush with tomes about Japan’s drinking culture, particularly its unique world of whisky. Add to that list Brian Ashcraft’s slim but densely packed book, Japanese Whisky, a tome that is clearly written by both an enthusiast and an insider.
The first half of the book finds Ashcraft driving you through the history of whiskymaking in Japan, its relationship to sake and shochu, and its connection to other countries — especially Scotland — and their whisky production and history. If you’ve ever wondered what mizunara oak was — and what makes it different from American or European oak — Japanese Whisky has you covered.
The book gets even more fun in the latter half, which has Ashcraft offering honest reviews on dozens of Japanese whiskies, many of which you’ll have never heard of unless you’ve spend significant time in Japan. Ashcraft pulls no puches: A lot of whisky made in Japan is junk, and he’s here to help separate the wheat — er, the malt — from the chaff.
Along the way, the book is filled with excellent photographs and in-depth coverage of all the major distilleries in Japan, so even if a trip east isn’t in your budget this year, you can still feel like you’re there.
A- / $15 / [BUY IT NOW FROM AMAZON]