Bottoms Up — April 21, 2014 at 3:05 pm

Japanese Whisky Takes Over the City



With Suntory’s recent purchase of Jim Beam it is no doubt that Japanese whisky is making its mark in the spirits world. Leave ROCHELLE Out of It is one of the top whiskey bars in New York City and the perfect destination to try lovely Japanese whiskys and sip with one of the most knowledgeable people in the industry. Stephen Yorz, the Head Bartender and Creative Director, explains to us his views on Japanese whisky, the spirit in general, and the new trends happening in the industry. The lineup of Japanese whiskys at the bar include Hakushu 12 Year, Hibiki 12 Year, Yamazaki 12 Year, as well as an extremely rare and first cask-strength Japanese whisky, Chichibu the First.


Why is Japanese whisky becoming popular now? Are Americans finally starting to get it?

It’s not whether Americans are finally starting to get it or not, it’s more the fact that Japanese Whisky hasn’t been available in the U.S. With the relatively recent explosion of brown spirits in this country, I think the Japanese timed their entry into the U.S. market perfectly.

I LOVE Japanese whisky — at Rochelle are there any whiskys offered that are more entry-level for consumers to try/learn about and then maybe progress to more complex whiskys?

We offer a wide array of “entry level” whiskeys, however there are basically no inexpensive or entry level Japanese whiskys sold in New York City.  I personally would not consider Yamazaki, or Hibiki 12yr entry level, especially having first had knowledge of other Suntory products sold in Japan.

Are tastings or flights offered?

Yes there are! Japanese whisky by the glass are as follows, and flights vary on what is ordered:
Yamaziki 12 – $14
Yamazaki 18- $45
Nikka 12 – $15
Nikka Coffey – $18
Habiki 12 – $15
Hakushu 12 – $15
Chichibu the First – $42


Have you noticed a good amount of people trying these whiskeys?

Yes, we offer about seven Japanese whiskys ranging from $15 – $45 for a full 2 oz. pour. I would carry more, but many can be difficult to get.

Where do you see Japanese whisky going in 5 years? More popular? More brands making their way into the US? Do you think the American consumers will drink more of it than they do other whiskeys?

Of course there will be more brands, and Americans already seem to like them, however, my hope is that the Japanese maintain their commitment to quality and continue to produce what they think is top tier and don’t fall to the pressures of demand. I would personally hate to see the Japanese come out with a Fireball considering all the wonderful whiskys they have sent here.

We couldn’t agree with him more. Japanese whisky is quality driven and certainly a whisky you will want to try. Head over to ROCHELLE to try some with Stephen!

Leave Rochelle Out of It is located at 205 Chrystie Street. 

Twisted Talk: Have you ever tried Japanese whisky? What’s your favorite? Discuss below!


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