• Photo: Andrey Haustov
  • Text: Vasiliy Avchenko

Japanese whiskey in the Far East is valued no less than Scottish or Irish.

In Japan, whiskey-making did not begin until the 20th century, but this Western drink has quickly become popular here. Masataka Taketsuru, who studied the features of whiskey production in his homeland and in Scotland, is considered the father of Japanese whiskey.

In the 1920s, Masataka built Japan’s first distilleries for Sutory and Nikka. Today these distilleries are the leading producers of Japanese whiskey, which the Japanese themselves consume more than sake. In 1970s commercials for Suntory were shot by Akira Kurosawa himself.

Russian connoisseurs of Japanese whiskey like to recall how in 1945, Soviet diplomat and intelligence officer Mikhail Ivanov was issued a government assignment to study the effects of the nuclear bombing of Japan. At that time, no one protected against radiation and no one yet knew about radiation sickness. In 2007, the then 95-year-old General Ivanov recounted: Suntory whiskey saved him, which he drank while investigating the ashes of Hiroshima...

The relatively inexpensive Black Nikka is considered more affordable in Vladivostok, while Suntory Red, more refined. Vladivostok residents prefer to buy Japanese whiskey not in stores, but at the auto market Zelyenye Ugol (Green Corner), where there are brisk sales of duty free alcohol, Maxim instant coffee, Hi-Lite cigarettes, etc. A two-liter „babayka„ (plastic or glass bottle) of “Nikki" costs around 1,500-1,800 rubles, while Suntory is somewhat more expensive.

Here you can also buy Suntory vodka, European cognacs, gins, tequilas and other „contrabas“ (contraband): which all port cities call imported goods, brought in using methods of various legality. Japanese beer is also valued: Asahi, Kirin, Sapporo and others.

These drinks can be purchased through advertisements on local sites, where imported alcohol masquerades as "Black Cola from Japan".

Come to Vladivostok!

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