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It is said that Yamanashi is the Japanese country of wine… but during my stay in the prefecture, I found out it could also be called the “country of whisky”! We have already introduced the Suntory distillery in another article( External link ), but did you know that whisky connoisseurs from Japan and abroad come to Kiyosato (Hokuto city) to try there some exceptional whiskies?

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Moegi no Mura is a park (whose atmosphere reminds of… a Western village? I wasn’t able to figure out its various architectural inspirations!) where one can find shops, restaurants, and other activities to try with friends or family members. It is also here that whisky lovers can find real gems: at Bar Perch, located at the second floor of the Hotel Hut Walden, you can taste more than 500 whiskies, and some of them are unique in the world!

Why is Bar Perch a must-go spot for whisky lovers?

First of all, let’s start with a short explanation of the context: the Kiyosato Field Ballet is a ballet show that takes place every summer in the heart of Kiyosato forest. Each year, thousands of ballet fans gather to admire this show, that has a great reputation even among the dancers themselves. I personally had the opportunity to see the 31st edition of the show, Swan Lake, that I found subjugating. The branches of the trees form the most beautiful green bower for the stage; besides, the mysterious noises from the nocturnal animals made the whole moment even more magical!

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But why am I talking about a ballet show in the middle of my story about whisky?

Perch3In fact, Mr. Seiichi Koshimizu, one of Suntory’s chief blenders, happens to come from Kofu, the capital city of Yamanashi Prefecture. As he was approaching retirement, he decided to create one last masterpiece that would leave a lasting impression. For your information, a distillery’s chief blender is the person in charge of assembling whisky blends with harmony, and decides what flavor the final product will have. Therefore, Mr. Kochimizu is the man behind the deliciousness of the famous Hibiki, Yamazaki, and Hakushu blends produced by Hakushu!


For his last creation, he imagines a whisky that commemorates the 25th edition of the Kiyosato Field Ballet, and assembles some Hakushu 25-Year-old, that has been ageing since 1990, and some Yamazaki 50-Year-old, which is supposed to represent the ballerinas’ grace. Only 300 bottles were put on the market in 2014; that same year, the blend won the award of the best Japanese whisky.

 

 

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Then, to accompany the development of the Kiyosato Field Ballet, the distillery located in Saitama Prefecture, where the brand Ichiro’s Malt, which is well-known from whisky drinkers, comes from, produced commemoratives bottles for the 26th to 29th editions of the show.

In 2019, Japanese whisky’s international reputation considerably expands following an auction that took place in Hong Kong. 54 whisky bottles, that represents the 54 cards of a trump card deck, were sold for more 100 million yen (around 940 000 dollars). This is the highest price ever reached by a Japanese whisky. Coincidentally, those bottles were all produced by… Ichiro’s Malt, that I just mentioned above. The world of excellence is a small one!

Below is a picture of the most precious jewel among all those treasures: this bottle that wax created on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Kiyosato Field Ballet. This subtle blend of Hakushu 30 year and 32 year is very unique: only 15 bottles of this whisky exist in the entire world… And it can be enjoyed only at Bar Perch. Of course, luxury has a price, but when you like something, you don’t think about how much you will spend in it!

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Perch6If you’re not the biggest fan of pure whisky, why not try a cocktail prepared by a bar tender who won multiple cocktail-making contests? The one I chose (see photo) was a delicious tangy and fruity mix with a generous quantity of whisky, unlike other ordinary cocktails. I recommend to slowly sip it, in order to enjoy the subtle balance between the natural sweetness of the fruit and the smoky flavor of the amber beverage.

Whisky lovers from all around the world, Bar Perch is undoubtedly a must-go spot for you! You will be delighted by this sensorial experience, unique and sophisticated, that you can only find in this bar that reminds of the casual atmosphere of an Irish pub, and warm moments spent around the fireplace, in a cozy mountain lodge.


 

 

Price range 

Commemorative whisky Kiyosato Field Ballet 25th edition: 30 ml 18 000 yen
Commemorative whisky Kiyosato Field Ballet 30th edition: 30 ml 50 000 yen
Tasting set of commemorative whiskies from the 26th to the 29th editions: 14 000 yen
Cocktails: around 1500 yen

Access information

Moegi no Mura is located only 2h away from Shinjuku via Chuo expressway.

If you are coming by train, take a limited express train bound for Matsumoto, get off at Kobuchizawa to transfer to the Koumi Line, and take a train to Kiyosato. From there, Moegi no Mura is a 10-minute walk (total: about 2h30).

You can easily spend the whole day at Moegi no Mura: shopping, lunch at restaurant ROCK; walks through the forest, visit of the Music Boxes Museum, whisky tasting at Bar Perch… Surely, you will find an activity that suits your tastes. Spending a night at the hotel Hut Walden, that provides lovely rooms literally a few footsteps away from Bar Perch, is definitely a good option after your whisky tasting!

Adresse: Yamanashi-ken, Hokuto-shi, Takane-cho, Kiyosato 3545 Moegi no Mura 407-0301
2nd floor of Hut Walden Hotel
Téléphone: 055-148-2131
Website( External link )

Published on

  • March 8, 2021

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