I’ve drunk some pricey drinks in my time. I tried a shot of Sunny Brook Rye from 1892 for ¥20,000, and last week I drank my first ¥7,000 cocktail (a highball made with Hakushu 25 Years Old, which is sure to raise the ire of any self-respecting whisky fan, but a shot of that stuff was ¥16,000, so the highball was the cheapest way to taste it. No, it wasn’t worth it.)
But I set what I expect to be a long-serving record tonight. Not in price terms – I believe I paid a little under ¥9,000 – but in yen per millilitre.
Check the picture. That’s how much I got. The price for a regular shot of Yamazaki 50 Years Old is ¥90,000 at Wodka Tonic in Nishi Azabu. For Golden Week they’re offering half off every drink in the bar. Which brings it to ¥45,000.
“What’s the smallest serving you’ll pour?” I asked, because I have no shame.
The bartenders conferred and said “10 mls.”
“I’ll take it,” I said. And the bartender readied the glass.
Then it occurred to me that ten millilitres of a ¥90,000 shot was still quite a bit. So I asked how much I’d just agreed to spend.
With the current 50% discount offer: ¥17,500.
“And so five mls would be half of that price?” I asked, because as I mentioned, I have no shame.
And that’s what you see in the picture above. Five millilitres of whisky.
My drinking companions both looked aghast, but they were both Scottish, and a Scotsman wouldn’t pay that much for a house. They didn’t mind sticking their tongue in my drink though.
Was it worth it? Of course not. ¥9,000 is too much for 5 millilitres of anything. Except maybe unicorn milk or an angel’s tears. It was a very good whisky, and showed what Japanese Mizunara oak can achieve.
Palate: Rich, rich, richer than Warren Buffet after a lottery win, but not in a sherry-rich sense. It was gentler, perhaps a bit incense-y, but had lost any semblance of being what I think of as a Yamazaki (I drink the 10 Year Old at home as a nightcap or for breakfast).
Mouthfeel: no idea, I only had about three millilitres after the jocks took their sip.
Finish: that also, apparently, takes more than three millilitres to deliver.
Overall, it wasn’t the bragging experience I was hoping for, and I’d much rather have a Hakushu 25 Years Old, though not in a highball. I’d probably also rather have the ¥9,000, but at least I know now.