Friday, June 1, 2012

Quercus Bar (Ikebukuro)

After a long day teaching yesterday I decided to head to a whisky bar. There are many choices to choose from in Tokyo but I've never been to a whisky bar before. For many years I've just been drinking beer so that means I've been to many of the craft beer bars around Tokyo and that was about it.

Whisky bars are a great way to try whiskies that you have never had before. Due to limited space at home and limited finances, I can't buy all the bottles I want. I have to be selective and buy things that I like to drink. Anyway I had two choices, Campbelltoun Loch in Yurakucho or Quercus Bar in Ikebukuro. I read that Campbelltoun Loch is a great place but a little small. I decided to try Quercus bar instead. I'll leave Campbelltoun Loch for another day.

The sign just outside the door.

Quercus Bar is a 10 minute walk from Ikebukuro JR station  east exit, left along Meiji-dori road. It's on the basement level of a MOS Burger shop. When I entered just after 5:30pm there was already a lone customer enjoying a quiet dram and the bar owner, Watanabe-san. I sat down at the bar and started to chat with Watanabe-san and asked him what he recommended. He asked what I wanted to drink and I said Springbank. He then recommended a whisky especially bottled for the bar. It was a very dark amber and look interesting. I however stuck with the Springbank.

Springbank 10 @ 46%
Springbank, from the Campbelltown region is a lovely whisky and a favorite of mine. I also chatted with the customer who liked a wide variety of drinks but especially whisky. After enjoying the Springbank I ordered an Islay malt that I have never tried before. Lagavulin 16 is a smooth and strongly peated whisky but very well balanced. It was nice but it didn't really capture my imagination.

Lagavulin 16 @ 43%
Lastly I ordered a Japanese malt from the Ichiro's Malt range. They only had The floor Malted so I order that. It was a little expensive at around 1,300 yen a dram. My first impression was that it had a very overwhelming aroma and was quite young. Looking at the bottle label I saw that it was indeed a young whisky having being matured for 3 year, the minimum age. It was a little too young for me but subsequent releases will be very nice I'm sure. The bill was 3,400 which is cheaper than most places.

The Floor Malted @ 50.5%

I thoroughly enjoyed my first ever visit to a whisky bar and I look forward to visiting this bar again.  Highly recommended. I wonder which bar I will visit next.

http://www.quercusbar.com/index.html


  

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