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Japanese whisky bars take their liquor seriously. That’s why, when opening our izakaya-influenced establishment Gyoza Gyoza, we set out to stock its shelves with as many delicious Japanese whiskies, sake, and beers as possible. Our aim was to create an environment that captured the intimacy, familiarity and relaxed atmosphere of izakaya bars in Japan.
Becoming one of the best Japanese whisky bars in Melbourne required us to utilise our knowledge of Japanese flavours, customs and tastes, and to combine them with Australian culture to create an exciting new restaurant and bar combination. Along with our food selection, we have tried to create a drinks menu that contains something for everybody – so whether you’re a beer drinker, a wine connoisseur, a whisky aficionado, a cider lover, or you are seeking to try one of the many dozens of sake we have on offer, Gyoza Gyoza will provide.
Feeling thirsty? Take a look at the drinks menu!
One of our most popular whiskys on offer is Suntory Whisky, a premium Japanese whisky offered in flavours including lemon, lime, lychee, and passion grapefruit. Suntory is a Japanese institution, having produced delicious spirits since 1923, when they opened the country’s first ever distillery at Yamazaki. Suntory produce grain, blended and single malt whiskies, and regularly reveal new limited edition drinks and unique bottle designs, adding to the brand’s palpable elegance.
Although it may seem a million miles from life in Melbourne, Japanese whisky was initially created in an effort to recreate Scotch whisky. This is evident even in the spelling: ‘whisky’, the Scottish spelling, over ‘whiskey’, the Irish version. Early distilleries in Japan were situated at sites with an environment and climate that was similar to Scotland, in order to recreate the exquisite flavours as minutely as possible.
Uniquely Japanese Production
A key difference in Japanese whisky and whiskies elsewhere in the world is the production process. Because distilleries and brands of whiskies may be owned by a hodge-podge of different companies in other countries, the blending process may use combinations of these that reach beyond any one company. However, in Japan whisky companies own particular whiskies as well as the distilleries, which means that a blended whisky in Japan will almost certainly contain only whisky from the distilleries that particular company owns.
Since whisky’s inception in Japan, many critics have suggested that Japanese distilleries have long-since surpassed their Scottish counterparts. Indeed, today if you are searching for the smoothest, most delicious whiskies in the world, Japan is the best country to start your search - or of course, you could save yourself a little money and simply nip on over to Gyoza Gyoza!
Japanese Whisky as a Status Symbol
Over the years, Japanese whisky has become both a status symbol and a staple of izakaya-drinking. Despite its existence in the country since 1923 (and possibly even earlier outside large-scale distilleries), Japanese whisky didn’t truly explode until the 70’s and 80’s. With Japanese industry spreading across the globe and money flooding into the country, Japanese businesspeople would often end a frantic working day with a visit to a whisky bar or izakaya, where they would consume a whisky or three before heading home.
The whisky business in Japan slumped at the beginning of the twenty-first century, with the economy slowing and the consequent decline of businesspeople running wild tending to slow the sale of whisky. However, in more recent years this downward trend has turned around, with new economic success bringing with it a whisky-scented nostalgia for the eighties. In Tokyo today, take a walk through Shinjuku and you’ll once more see suited and booted individuals ducking inside an izakaya for a crisp glass of Suntory after a hard day’s work. Of course, you don’t have to travel to Tokyo if you’re looking to wet your whistle. Come and pay a visit to Gyoza Gyoza!