There was a time when most people were inclined to believe that a good whisky can but hail only from Scotland or Ireland. Over centuries this perception gradually changed, and when it did, Japanese whisky drew much attention and gained greatly in popularity. Now, with several craft distilleries operating globally, we have become more aware of whisky as a subject of importance rather than just another kind of liquor.
The history of Japanese whisky is fascinating. And it must have appeared so to Dave Broom, an internationally recognized whisky expert and award-winning author of several works of non-fiction on whisky and other liquor. Broom visited Japan around 25 times in the course of 12 years to study Japanese whisky. A result of this was The Way of Whisky: A Journey Around Japanese Whisky.
Before 2002, Japanese whisky was confined to just within the nation, and it was only after it was released in the global market that the industry started enjoying a period of boom, which has held consistently since.
Broom, while tracing the history of Japanese whisky, talks about present-day operational distilleries and how they started their journey. He documents their production process and enlists the whiskies that they are producing with tasting notes.
He also looks for answers concerning how or why Japanese whisky is fundamentally different from whiskies from other parts of the world—if it is because of the climate or their techniques, or how Japanese whisky balances tradition with innovation. Whisky forms an intricate part of Japanese lifestyle and Broom has attempted to trace how that came to be. There are age old practices involving whisky and he thinks that the time has come for the world to know these concepts.
Japanese whisky has immense presence in popular culture and Broom explores some of them in his book. He approaches the subject with a fresh purpose of understanding the cultural significance of the liquor in Japan.
Dave Broom’s book, in collaboration to Kohei Take is a must have for whisky connoisseurs/enthusiasts. Come to think of it, it is a must have for all who is fascinated by Japan and bibliophiles in general. Broom’s expertise in whisky and his command over the language reflects in the book. He has been writing over the past 25 years, in which he has written eight books.
Two of his books won the Glenfiddich Award for Drinks Book of the Year. He had won the Glenfiddich Award for Drinks Writer of the Year twice previously and fairly recently, he won the prestigious IWSC Communicator of the Year Award. Tales of the Cocktail, released in 2015, ensured that Dave win the Best Cocktail & Spirits award, which was soon followed by the Golden Spirit Award in 2016.
If you are still not convinced about why you should trust Broom with whisky, let us tell you that he was one of the developers of the Flavor Map, a generic whisky tasting tool.
Tokyo-based photographer Kohei Take, who specializes in travel photography along with portraits and fashion, documented Broom’s journey largely. He has contributed significantly to the book with his photographs of not just the distilleries but also of places around the distilleries as well as the making of certain whiskies. In fact, it is his pictures that add a soul to this particular edition of the book. He
lures the readers into thinking deep into the philosophy behind Japanese whisky.
What Broom tried to capture in words, Kohei Take has articulated through his pictures. Together in The Way of Whisky: A Journey Around Japanese Whisky, they have expressed the essence of the culture surrounding whisky in Japan.