我们还能再来一次三得利吗?
Can We Ever Make It Suntory Time Again?
6349字
2021-03-02 21:58
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火星译客

Bic Camera looked like many of the other loud, brightly colored electronics stores I'd seen in Japan, just bigger. Mostly, it was a respite from the cold. The appliances and electronics that jammed its interior gave no indication of its dizzyingly good liquor selection, nor did the many inexpensive aged Japanese whiskies hint that affordable bottles were about to become a thing of the past, or that I'd nurture a profound remorse once they did. 

比克相机看起来就像我在日本见过的其他许多吵闹、色彩鲜艳的电子商店一样,只是更大一些。主要是为了缓解寒冷。它内部塞满了电器和电子产品,丝毫没有显示出它有令人眼花缭乱的优质白酒可供选择,许多廉价的陈年日本威士忌也没有暗示,价格实惠的酒瓶即将成为过去,或者一旦它们成为过去,我就会深深自责。

When I found Bic Camera's wholly unexpected liquor department, I lifted two bottles of high-end Japanese whisky from the shelf, wandered the aisles studying the labels, had a baffling interaction with a clerk, and put the bottles back on the shelf. All I had to do was pay for them. I didn't.

当我发现Bic Camera的酒类销售部门时,我从货架上拿起两瓶高端日本威士忌,在过道里逛了逛,研究了一下标签,与店员莫名其妙地进行了一番交谈,然后把瓶子放回货架上。我只要付钱就行了。我没有。

Commercial Japanese whisky has been around since at least 1929, so during my first trip to Japan (and at home in the U.S.), there was no reason to think that all the aged Japanese whiskies that were readily available in the early 2000s would soon achieve holy grail status. In 2007, there were $100 bottles of Yamazaki 18-year sitting forlornly on a shelf at my local BevMo. One bottle now sells for more than $400 at online auctions; some online stores sell them for $700.

日本的商业威士忌至少从1929年就已经存在了,所以在我第一次去日本(以及在美国的家里)的时候,没有理由认为所有在21世纪初就很容易买到的陈年日本威士忌会很快达到圣杯的地位。2007年,在我们当地的BevMo餐厅,有一瓶售价100美元的山崎18年酒孤零零地摆在货架上。其中一瓶现在在网上拍卖会上卖到400多美元;一些网上商店以700美元的价格出售。

Yoichi 10, Yoichi 12, Hibiki 17 and 21, Taketsuru 12 and 17 — in 2014, rare and discontinued bottles lined store shelves, reasonably priced compared to their current $300 to $600 price tags. Those were great years. I call them BTB — before the boom. Before the boom, a bottle of Yamazaki 12 cost $60. After the boom, a Seattle liquor store priced their last bottle of Yamazaki 12 at $225. Before the boom, Taketsuru 12 cost $20 in Japan and $70 in the States. After the boom, online auctions sell bottles for more than $220.

Yoichi 10、Yoichi 12、Hibiki 17和21、Taketsuru 12和17——2014年,稀有和停产的葡萄酒在商店货架上摆放,与它们目前300美元至600美元的价格相比,价格合理。那是伟大的岁月。我称它们为BTB——在繁荣之前。在繁荣之前,一瓶山崎12的价格是60美元。在热潮过后,西雅图一家酒类商店将最后一瓶山崎12定为225美元。在经济繁荣之前,Taketsuru 12在日本的售价是20美元,在美国的售价是70美元。在繁荣之后,网上拍卖的瓶子售价超过220美元。

Before the boom, Karuizawa casks sat, dusty and abandoned, in shuttered distilleries. After the boom, a bottle of Karuizawa 1964 sold for $118,420, the most expensive Japanese whisky ever sold at auction, until a Yamazaki 50 sold for $129,186 the following year, then another went for $343,000 15 months later.

在繁荣之前,轻井泽酒桶落满灰尘,被遗弃在关闭的酿酒厂里。在繁荣之后,1964年的一瓶清水威士忌以118420美元的价格成交,这是日本有史以来拍卖价格最高的威士忌,直到次年,一款山崎50以129186美元成交,15个月后,另一瓶以34.3万美元成交。

Before the boom, whisky tasted of rich red fruits and cereal grains. After the boom, it tasted of regret.

在繁荣之前,威士忌尝起来有浓郁的红色水果和谷物的味道。繁荣过后,尝到了悔恨的滋味。

I've spent the past five years wishing I could do things over. I remember my trips to Japan fondly — the new friends, the food and record stores, the Kyoto temples and solitary hikes — except for the whisky, whose absence coats my mouth with the proverbial bitter taste. I replay the time I walked into a grocery store in Tokyo's Ikebukuro neighborhood and found a shelf lined with Taketsuru 12, four bottles wide and four deep, at $20 apiece; it starts at $170 now. I look at the photos I took of Hibiki 12 for $34, Yoichi 12 for $69, Taketsuru 21 for $89. I tell friends how I'd visited the Isetan Department Store's liquor department in Shinjuku, where they had a 12-year-old sherried Karuizawa bottled exclusively for Isetan for barely more than $100, alongside a blend of Hanyu and Kawaski grain whisky that famed distiller Ichiro Akuto did exclusively for the store. 

在过去的五年里,我一直希望我能重新来过。我还记得我的日本之旅——新朋友,食物和唱片店,京都寺庙和独自远足——除了威士忌,没有它,我的嘴里充满了大家都知道的苦味。有一次,我走进东京池袋区一家杂货店,发现一个货架上摆满了Taketsuru 12,四瓶宽四瓶深,每瓶20美元;现在的起价是170美元。我看我拍的Hibiki 12 34美元,Yoichi 12 69美元,Taketsuru 21 89美元的照片。我告诉朋友,我曾去过新宿市伊势丹百货商店的酒类部,那里有一种12年的轻井泽雪莉(sherried Karuizawa)瓶装酒,专门为伊势丹供应,价格仅为100美元多一点,还有一种由羽弦和川崎谷物混合而成的威士忌,是著名酿酒师Akuto一郎(Ichiro Akuto)专门为该商店供应的。

Staff wouldn't let me photograph or touch anything, but I could have afforded both bottles. They now sell for $1,140 and $1,290, respectively. I torture myself by revisiting my unfortunate logic, how I squandered my limited funds: buying inexpensive bottles to drink during the trip, instead of a few big-ticket purchases to take home.

工作人员不让我拍照或碰任何东西,但两瓶酒我都买得起。它们现在的售价分别为1140美元和1290美元。我不断回想自己当初是如何浪费有限的资金的,这让我很痛苦:在旅途中买了几瓶便宜的酒喝,而不是买几瓶高价带回家。

After the notorious Commodore Perry landed on Japanese shores in 1853 to open the closed country to trade, he gifted the emperor a barrel and 70 gallons of American whiskey, a spirit not well-known in Japan. As whiskey tends to do, it softened the nations' encounter; one tipsy samurai felt so good he even hugged Perry. At the time, domestic spirit production was limited to shōchū and an Okinawan drink called awamori, made from sweet potatoes and rice respectively. Japanese companies tried to recreate the brown spirits that American and European companies had started importing, but without a recipe, the imitations were rough. 

1853年,臭名昭著的海军上将佩里登陆日本海岸,打开了这个封闭的国家的贸易大门,他送给天皇一桶70加仑的美国威士忌,这种酒在日本并不知名。正如威士忌往往会做的那样,它软化了两国之间的接触;一个喝醉了的武士感觉很好,甚至拥抱了佩里。当时,日本国内的烈酒生产仅限于shōchū和冲绳的一种名为awamori的饮料,后者分别由红薯和大米制成。日本公司试图复制美国和欧洲公司已经开始进口的棕色烈酒,但由于没有配方,仿制品很粗糙。

The earliest Japanese attempts were either cheaply made locally or imported from Europe and labeled Japanese. When two boatloads of American soldiers stopped in the port of Hakodate in 1918, en route to fight Bolsheviks in Siberia, they found bars filled with knock-off scotch, including one called Queen George. As Major Samuel L. Johnson wrote in a letter, “If you come across any, don't touch it. … It must be 86 percent corrosive sublimate proof, because 3,500 enlisted men were stinko fifteen minutes after they got ashore.”

日本最早的尝试要么是在当地廉价制造,要么是从欧洲进口并贴上日本的标签。1918年,两艘满载美国士兵的船在前往西伯利亚与布尔什维克作战的途中停在了Hakodate港,他们发现酒吧里满是仿制的苏格兰威士忌,其中有一家叫“乔治女王”(Queen George)。正如少校塞缪尔·l·约翰逊(Samuel L. Johnson)在一封信中所写的那样,“如果你遇到了什么,不要碰它。”……它必须具有86%的腐蚀性升华防护能力,因为3500名士兵上岸15分钟后就浑身发臭。”

It was in this miasma of bad imitations that Suntory's founder Shinjiro Torii recognized an opportunity. Winemaker Torii had been importing whiskies and bottling them as early as 1911. He called his brand Torys. As whisky found a toehold in Japan, he realized that slinging rotgut like the other frontier opportunists wasn't the way to create a market; he needed to learn to distill an authentic, higher-quality whisky. 

三得利的创始人鸟井慎次郎(Shinjiro Torii)正是在这种糟糕模仿的瘴气中发现了机会。早在1911年,酒商Torii就开始进口威士忌并装瓶。他称自己的品牌为托利斯。当威士忌在日本找到立足点时,他意识到,像其他前沿机会主义者那样抛出劣质威士忌并不是创造市场的方法;他需要学习如何蒸馏出一种正宗的、高品质的威士忌。

The way Suntory's marketing materials later presented it, Torii wanted to create a refined whisky that also reflected Japanese natural resources and Japanese tastes, which he perceived as more attuned to delicacy and nuance than the Scottish palate and that paired with Japanese cuisine rather than overpowering it — anything that tasted of corrosive sublimate would overwhelm your food. In 1923, he used his wine profits to build a distillery near Kyoto.

三得利的营销材料后提交,鸟居想创建一个精致的威士忌,也反映出日本自然资源和日本口味,他认为更适应比苏格兰口感美味和细微差别,配上日本料理而不是压倒性的——任何味道的升汞压倒你的食物。1923年,他用他的葡萄酒利润在京都附近建了一家酿酒厂。

Elsewhere, in Osaka, Masataka Taketsuru, the son of a sake-maker, had been working for shōchū-maker Settsu Shuzo. The company, like Torii, wanted to make whisky, so in 1918 its president sent Taketsuru to study whisky-making in Scotland. Taketsuru was a 24-year-old chemist and took detailed notes when the Scottish distillers finally showed him their facilities and techniques. After two years learning the art of cask maturation, pot stills, and peat-smoking, Taketsuru returned to Japan to find that his employer's enthusiasm for making real whisky had waned. 

在大阪的其他地方,一位清酒制造者的儿子Taketsuru正孝(Masataka Taketsuru)一直在shōchū-maker Settsu Shuzo工作。和鸟居一样,该公司也想生产威士忌,所以在1918年,公司总裁派竹鹤去苏格兰研究威士忌的制造。24岁的武鹤是一名化学家,当苏格兰酿酒师最终向他展示他们的设备和技术时,他做了详细的记录。在花了两年时间学习木桶熟化、壶蒸馏和泥炭熏制的艺术后,竹suru回到日本,发现他的雇主对制作真正的威士忌的热情已经消退。

So Taketsuru took his Scottish knowledge and enthusiasm to Torii, and the two men pooled their skills to build what became the Yamazaki Distillery, the country's first commercial whisky producer. Sticking with Scottish tradition, they spelled it without the ‘e.'

于是,武鹤带着他的苏格兰知识和热情来到了鸟居,两人将各自的技能汇集起来,建立了后来的山崎酒厂(yamamazaki Distillery),这是日本第一家商业威士忌生产商。按照苏格兰的传统,他们拼写的时候没有“e”。

Suntory gets all the credit for distilling Japan's first Scottish-style whisky, but Eigashima Shuzō, the company that now runs the White Oak Distillery, actually got the first license to produce whisky in Japan in 1919, five years before Yamazaki. Founder Kiichiro Iwai, who later founded the Mars Shinshu distillery and designed its equipment, had been Taketsuru's mentor at Shuzo and is often called “the silent pioneer of Japanese whisky.” But Yamazaki started producing whisky sooner, so the rest, as they say, is history.

三得利(Suntory)因酿造出日本第一款苏格兰风格的威士忌而广受赞誉,但Eigashima Shuzō,这家现在经营白橡木酿酒厂的公司,实际上在1919年就获得了日本第一个生产威士忌的许可证,比山崎早了5年。创始人岩井喜一郎(Kiichiro Iwai)后来创立了Mars Shinshu酒厂,并设计了酒厂的设备。他是Taketsuru在Shuzo的导师,经常被称为“日本威士忌的沉默先驱”。但山崎开始生产威士忌的时间要早得多,因此,正如他们所说,其余的事情都已成为历史。

Suntory's Yamazaki distillery launched Japan's first true commercial whisky in 1929. Ninety years later, around a dozen companies distill whisky in Japan, depending on how you count them: Suntory and Nikka. Chichibu in Saitama Prefecture. White Oak in coastal Akashi. Kirin at the base of Mt. Fuji. Mars Shinshū in the village of Miyada in the Japanese Alps. Upstarts like Akkeshi in Hokkaido and the Shizuoka Distillery near Shizuoka. All produce stellar whisky.

1929年,三得利的山崎酿酒厂推出了日本第一款真正的商业威士忌。90年后,日本大约有十几家蒸馏威士忌的公司,具体数字取决于你怎么算:三得利(Suntory)和日卡(Nikka)。琦玉县的秩父。明石岛海岸的白橡树。富士山脚下的麒麟。火星Shinshū在日本阿尔卑斯山的宫田村。像北海道的Akkeshi和静冈县附近的静冈县酿酒厂(Shizuoka Distillery)这样的新贵。他们都生产一流的威士忌。

Whisky experienced a huge boom in postwar Japan, coming to represent success, the West, masculinity, worldliness, and Japan's increasing importance on the world stage. “If you were to choose a drink to symbolize the rapid economic growth in the four decades after the war,” Chris Bunting writes in Drinking Japan, “it would have to be whisky.” In journalist Lawrence Osborne's words, whisky was “the salaryman's drink, a symbol of Westernized manliness and sophistication.” Initially, distillers flooded the domestic marketplace with mediocre blended drams and single malts that appealed to hard-working businessmen. Then Suntory relaunched Torys to reach the working-class masses; the stuff was cheap and tasted it, with a cartoon businessman mascot that the target demographic could identify with.

威士忌在战后的日本经历了一次巨大的繁荣,代表了成功、西方、男子气概和世俗,以及日本在世界舞台上日益重要的地位。“如果你要选择一种酒来象征战后40年经济的快速增长,”克里斯·本廷(Chris Bunting)在《喝日本》(Drinking Japan)一书中写道,“那肯定是威士忌。”用记者劳伦斯·奥斯本(Lawrence Osborne)的话说,威士忌是“工薪阶层的饮料,是西化的男子气概和老练的象征。”起初,酿酒师们用平庸的混合dram和单一麦芽威士忌充斥了国内市场,吸引了辛勤工作的商人。然后三得利重新推出托利党,以触及工人阶级大众;这些东西很便宜,尝了尝,还有一个目标人群能够认同的卡通商人吉祥物。

 Nikka also began producing different lines to offer Japanese drinkers an affordable Western luxury product. During the 1960s, '70s, and '80s, there was Hi Nikka, Nikka Gold & Gold, Suntory Old Whisky, and Suntory Royal. Many of these these brands used the same affectations as Scottish and English products: crests, gold fonts, aged labels, faceted glass decanters with boldly shaped stoppers, the British spelling of flavour. The approach worked. Whisky went from a drink of the well-to-do businessman to a drink of the average citizen, and it became common for working-class Japanese men to keep bottles at home. Production boomed.

日卡也开始生产不同的系列产品,为日本饮酒者提供一种负担得起的西方奢侈品。在20世纪60年代、70年代和80年代,有Hi Nikka、Nikka Gold & Gold、Suntory Old Whisky和Suntory Royal。这些品牌中有许多使用了与苏格兰和英格兰产品相同的矫饰:徽章、金色字体、陈年标签、带有形状大胆塞子的多面玻璃酒瓶,以及英式风味的拼写。工作的方法。威士忌从富裕商人的饮料变成了普通民众的饮料,日本工人阶级的男人也开始普遍地把瓶子放在家里。生产蓬勃发展。

In the mid-1980s, consumer drinking habits shifted toward shōchū, whisky lost its allure, and some distillers from the postwar boom years closed. But Keizo Saji, the second son of Suntory founder Shinjiro Torii, saw an opportunity: premium whisky. In 1984, the year domestic whisky consumption dropped 15.6 percent, Saji launched Yamazaki 12, Japan's first high-end mass-market single malt, transforming a downturn into a chance for the company to outdo itself with top-notch quaffs that would raise whisky's domestic reputation and compete with scotches in the global marketplace.

20世纪80年代中期,消费者的饮酒习惯转向了shōchū,威士忌失去了吸引力,一些战后繁荣时期的酿酒厂倒闭了。但三得利创始人鸟居新二郎(Shinjiro Torii)的次子Keizo Saji看到了机会:优质威士忌。1984年,日本国内的威士忌消费量下降了15.6%,于是Saji推出了日本第一个高端大众纯麦芽威士忌——山崎12,将低迷的市场转变为一个机会,让该公司用顶级的豪饮来超越自己,提高威士忌在国内的声誉,并在全球市场上与苏格兰威士忌竞争。

 Nikka followed suit with their own single malt. Historians usually date the true start of Japanese whisky's global ascendency to 2001, when 62 industry professionals did a blind taste test for British Whisky Magazine and named Nikka's Yoichi 10 Single Cask the year's best. “The whiskeys of Japan proved to be a real eye-opener for the majority of tasters,” the magazine wrote. As the Japan Times reported the following year, “Sales of Nikka's award-winning 10-year-old single-cask whiskey, which has only been sold online at Nikka's Web site, surged from about 20 bottles a month in 2000 to 1,200 in November after several Japanese newspapers carried an article about the taste-test events.”

Nikka也跟着推出了他们自己的单麦芽威士忌。历史学家通常认为,日本威士忌在全球的真正开始是在2001年,当时62名业内专业人士为《英国威士忌》杂志(British whisky Magazine)做了盲品测试,并将日卡(Nikka)的Yoichi 10单桶威士忌评为年度最佳。该杂志写道:“事实证明,日本的威士忌让大多数品尝者大开眼界。”就像《日本时报》(Japan Times)次年报道的那样,“日佳有10年历史、屡获佳绩的单桶威士忌,只在日佳有网站上销售,在几家日本报纸刊登了一篇有关试酒活动的文章后,销量从2000年的每月约20瓶飙升至11月的1200瓶。”

For a long time, the majority of Japanese whisky was made following Scottish distilling methods: Japanese single malts were made from 100 percent malted barley (mostly imported from the U.K.) with local mountain and spring water, distilled in pot stills, and matured at least three years in oak. Japanese single malts moved to casks made from American or European oaks and that once held bourbon to age further and take on color and flavor, usually for 10 to 18 years. Like scotch, these single malts were rich, wooded, and highly aromatic. But Japanese innovation also created an astonishing diversity of flavors that tradition would never have allowed. 

很长一段时间以来,日本的大部分威士忌都是采用苏格兰蒸馏法酿制的:日本的单麦芽威士忌是用100%的大麦(大部分是从英国进口的),加上当地的山泉水,在罐中蒸馏,在橡木桶中成熟至少三年。日本的单一麦芽威士忌被搬到了用美国或欧洲橡木制成的木桶中,这些木桶曾经存放过波旁威士忌,可以存放10到18年,使其色泽和风味更佳。和苏格兰威士忌一样,这些纯麦芽威士忌味道浓郁,有木香,香气浓郁。但日本的创新也创造出了传统所不允许的惊人的口味多样性。

Distillers age their whisky age in casks that once held sherry, bourbon, brandy, ume, and port, and, on a more limited basis, expensive casks made from Japan's native mizunara oak. Every culture has masters and apprentices, but the Japanese have a particular respect for craftsmanship, and many people, from coffee roasters to cedarwood lunch box makers, dedicate their lives to a single specialty. Whisky writer Brian Ashcraft told Nippon that there's a word for this: “In the Meiji period [1868–1912] there was a slogan, wakon-yōsai, or Japanese spirit and Western knowhow. So even if a product made in Japan is superficially the same as one made overseas, it's going to be something Japanese because of differences in culture, language, food, climate. … This applies to anything from blue jeans to cameras, cars and trains.

酿酒师将威士忌放在曾经存放雪利酒、波旁酒、白兰地、梅酒和波特酒的木桶中陈酿,而价格昂贵的木桶则由日本本土的水ara橡木制成。每一种文化都有师傅和学徒,但日本人对手艺有特别的尊重,许多人,从咖啡烘焙师到雪松午餐盒制造者,都把他们的生命奉献给了一种专长。威士忌作家布莱恩·阿什克拉赫(Brian Ashcraft)告诉日本新闻网(Nippon),有一个词可以形容这种情况:“在明治时期(1868-1912年),有一个口号,wakon-yōsai,意思是日本精神和西方技术。所以即使一件日本制造的产品表面上和海外制造的一样,它也会是日本的东西,因为文化、语言、食物、气候不同。从蓝色牛仔裤到照相机、汽车和火车,任何东西都是如此。

 There are elements of the culture manifesting in the finished product.” Sakuma Tadashi, Nikka's chief blender, told Ashcraft that by liberating themselves from tradition and embracing innovation and experimentation, the company can continue to improve its whisky. “At Nikka,” Tadashi said, “it's ingrained into everyone that we need to make whisky that is better than scotch. That's why if we change things, then we can make even more delicious whisky.”

在成品中有文化元素的体现。日兴的首席酿酒师佐久间·正(Sakuma Tadashi)告诉Ashcraft,通过从传统中解放出来,拥抱创新和实验,公司可以继续提高威士忌的品质。“在Nikka,”正说,“我们需要生产比苏格兰威士忌更好的威士忌,这在每个人心中都根深蒂固。”这就是为什么如果我们做出改变,我们就能做出更美味的威士忌。”

Like whisky aging in barrels, Japanese whisky producers' international reputation took years to develop, but gradually medals started weighing down their lapels. In 2001, the International Wine and Spirits Competition awarded Karuizawa Pure Malt 12 a gold medal. In 2003, the International Spirits Challenge gave Yamazaki 12 a gold award. Hibiki 30 won the International Spirits Challenge's top prize in 2004, Yamazaki 18 won San Francisco World Spirits Competition's Double Gold Medal in 2005, and Nikka's Yoichi 20 was named World's Best Single Malt Whisky in 2008. The World Whiskies Awards named Yamazaki 25 “World's Best Single Malt” in 2012. Hibiki 21 was named the world's best blended whisky in 2013. And on and on.

就像威士忌在酒桶里陈酿一样,日本威士忌生产商的国际声誉需要数年的时间才能发展起来,但奖章开始逐渐压在他们的衣领上。2001年,国际葡萄酒及烈酒大赛授予轻井泽纯麦芽金奖。2003年,山崎12号荣获国际精神挑战赛金奖。Hibiki 30在2004年获得了国际烈酒大赛的最高奖项,山崎18在2005年获得了旧金山世界烈酒大赛的双料金牌,而日家的Yoichi 20在2008年被评为世界上最好的单一麦芽威士忌。2012年,世界威士忌大奖将山崎25评为“世界最佳单一麦芽威士忌”。Hibiki 21在2013年被评为世界上最好的混合威士忌。诸如此类。

I've harbored an interest in Japanese culture and history since fifth grade. When I discovered the anime Robotech — one of the first Japanese animated shows adapted for mainstream American television — I sat for hours in my room, copying images of robots, missiles, and sparkly-eyed warrior women into my sketchbooks. As I moved away from anime and manga, I read more broadly about Japan and fell in love with Japanese literature, food, smart technology, and the Toyotas that never died, like the truck that took me from Arizona to British Columbia and back two times. Naturally, Bill Murray's now-famous line in Lost in Translation “For relaxing times, make it Suntory time” made me want to taste what he was talking about. So I ordered a glass of 12-year Yamazaki at a bar.

从五年级开始,我就对日本文化和历史产生了兴趣。当我发现日本动画《机器人技术》(第一部改编为美国主流电视节目的日本动画)时,我在自己的房间里坐了几个小时,把机器人、导弹和眼睛闪闪发光的女战士的图像复制到我的速写本上。当我远离动画和漫画时,我读了更多关于日本的书,并爱上了日本文学、食物、智能技术,以及永不消亡的丰田车,比如那辆载我从亚利桑那州到不列颠哥伦比亚省并往返两次的卡车。当然,比尔·默里(Bill Murray)在《迷失在翻译里》(Lost in Translation)中现在著名的一句台词“放松的时候,让它三得利时间”(make it Suntory time)让我想尝尝他在说什么。所以我在酒吧点了一杯12年的山崎酒。

Lively and bright with a medium body, the Yamazaki had layers of orange peel, honey, cinnamon, and brown sugar, along with a surprisingly earthy incense aroma, almost like cedar, which I later learned came from casks made from Japan's mizunara oak — Mizunara imparts what distillers call “temple flavor.” I kept my nose in the glass, sniffing and smiling and sniffing, no matter what the other patrons thought of me. 

山崎酒的酒体适中,活泼明亮,有桔皮、蜂蜜、肉桂和红糖的层次感,还有一种令人惊讶的泥土香,几乎像雪松,我后来才知道这是来自日本水ara橡木桶的味道——水ara具有酿酒师所说的“寺庙风味”。“我一直对着杯子擤鼻子,嗅呀,笑呀,嗅呀,不管其他顾客怎么看我。

When Bill Murray raised his glass of Hibiki 17, Suntory's Hibiki and Yamazaki lines were not widely distributed in the U.S. or Europe, and Western drinkers who knew them often considered them a novelty, or worse, a careful impersonation of the “real” Scottish malts. What I tasted could not be dismissed as a novelty. I knew that the people at Suntory who made this whisky had treated it as a work of art.

当比尔·默里(Bill Murray)举起他的Hibiki 17威士忌时,三托利(Suntory)的Hibiki和山崎(yamamazaki)系列并没有在美国或欧洲广泛销售,了解它们的西方饮酒者通常认为它们是新奇的,或者更糟,是对“真正的”苏格兰麦芽威士忌的精心模仿。我品尝到的不能被当作是新鲜事物而不予理会。我知道三得利酿造这种威士忌的人把它当作一件艺术品。

I loved it so much that I wondered what else was out there. There was little information in English: a single English-language book, Ulf Buxrud's hard-to-find Japanese Whisky: Facts, Figures and Taste, which cost too much to order. Instead, I found a community of blogging gaijin who took Japanese spirits as seriously as the distillers did, sharing information, reviews, and whatever information they could find. 

我太喜欢它了,我想知道外面还有什么。书中几乎没有英文资料:只有一本英文书,名为乌尔夫•布克斯鲁德(Ulf Buxrud’s hard-to-find Japanese Whisky: Facts, Figures and Taste)。相反,我发现了一个写博客的外国人社区,他们像酿酒师一样认真对待日本烈酒,分享信息、评论,以及他们能找到的任何信息。

Some of them lived in Japan. Others visited frequently and had Japanese connections who could translate details and source bottles. Clint A. of Whiskies R Us, Chris Bunting and Stefan Van Eycken at Nonjatta, Michio Hayashi at Japan Whisky Reviews. And Brian Love, aka Dramtastic, who ran the Japanese Whisky Review. They blogged about the domestic drams that you could only buy in Japan. They blogged about obscure drams from the decommissioned Kawasaki grain distillery; about something called owners casks and other limited bottlings made for Japanese department stores; and about what remained from the mothballed Karuizawa distillery, now one of the most fetishized whiskies in the world. They were my education.

他们中的一些人住在日本。还有一些人经常来这里,并且在日本有熟人,可以翻译细节和瓶子来源。whiskey R Us的克林特·a (Clint A.)、Nonjatta的克里斯·邦廷(Chris Bunting)和斯特凡·范·埃肯(Stefan Van Eycken)、日本威士忌评论(Japan Whisky Reviews)的林道夫(Michio Hayashi)。Brian Love,又名dramastic,是《日本威士忌评论》的负责人。他们在博客上提到了只能在日本买到的国内dram。他们在博客上写到了废弃的川崎谷物酿酒厂生产的鲜为人知的draams;比如为日本百货商店制造的“业主桶”(owners casks)和其他限量装瓶;以及被封存的轻井泽酒厂(轻井泽酒厂现在是世界上最受追捧的威士忌之一)还剩下什么。它们是我的教育。

At home, I searched for whiskies online and in bars and liquor stores and soon discovered my favorites: I preferred the smoky, rich coal-fired Yoichi to the woody, spicy Yamazaki. I liked the fruity depth of Hibiki a lot, but had an irrational prejudice against blended whisky, so I didn't buy any bottles of Hibiki when they cost a mere $70. And I preferred the crisp, herbaceous forest flavors of 12-year-old Hakushu to them all; I still do.

回到家里,我在网上、酒吧和酒类商店里搜索威士忌,很快就找到了我最喜欢的:我更喜欢烟熏味浓郁的燃煤Yoichi威士忌,而不是木香辛辣的山崎威士忌。我非常喜欢Hibiki浓郁的果香,但对混合威士忌有一种非理性的偏见,所以当Hibiki仅售70美元时,我没有买任何一瓶。我更喜欢12岁的白草树的脆嫩、草本森林风味;我仍然做的。

 Even after I became moderately educated and increasingly opinionated, I kept buying $30 bottles of my beloved Elijah Craig 12-year instead of Yoichi or Hibiki. That's the thing: The bloggers couldn't teach me that the years when I discovered Japanese whisky turned out to be their best years, and that I needed to take advantage of my timing. They didn't know. Nobody outside the whisky companies did, and nothing about their posts suggested that this world of abundant, affordable Japanese whiskies would come to an end around 2014.

即使在我接受了中等教育,而且越来越固执己见之后,我还是会继续买30美元一瓶的我最爱的伊利亚·克雷格12年威士忌,而不是Yoichi或Hibiki。问题是:博主们没能教会我,我发现日本威士忌的那几年是他们最好的年份,我需要利用好我的时机。他们不知道。除了威士忌公司以外,没有人这么认为,从他们的帖子中也没有任何迹象表明,这个供应充足、价格实惠的日本威士忌的世界将在2014年左右终结。

The fan groups and bloggers praised Yamazaki and Karuizawa malts, driving worldwide interest and prices. By the time the influential Jim Murray's Whisky Bible named the Yamazaki Single Malt Sherry Cask “World Whisky of the Year” in 2015 and San Francisco World Spirits Competition named Yamazaki 18 their 2015 Best in Class under the category “Other Whiskey,” U.S. and U.K. stores couldn't keep Japanese whisky in stock. 

粉丝团体和博客称赞山崎和轻井泽麦芽酒,推动了全世界的兴趣和价格。颇具影响力的时候吉姆·穆雷的山崎单一麦芽威士忌圣经叫雪莉桶“世界威士忌”2015年和旧金山世界精神竞争叫山崎18 2015年最好的属于“其他威士忌,”美国和英国商店不能保持日本威士忌在股票。

The student had overtaken the master. The $100 bottles of Yamazaki 18 no longer appeared on suburban BevMo shelves, and Hibiki 12 no longer cost $70. Everyone was asking stores for sherry cask, sherry cask, do you have the sherry cask? No, they did not. If you wanted a taste of Miyagikyo 12 in America, it would run you $30 to $50 a glass. The year 2015 was the first time Jim Murray named a Japanese malt the world's best and the first time in the Whisky Bible's 12-year history that no Scottish malt made the top five. Every drinker and their grandpa knew Johnnie Walker and Cutty Sark. Now they knew Suntory, too.

那个学生胜过了老师。售价100美元的山崎18不再出现在贝弗莫郊区的货架上,Hibiki 12也不再售价70美元。每个人都问商店要雪利酒桶,雪利酒桶,你有雪利酒桶吗?不,他们没有。如果你想在美国品尝Miyagikyo 12,一杯就要30到50美元。2015年,吉姆·穆雷(Jim Murray)首次将一种日本麦芽命名为世界上最好的麦芽,在威士忌圣经的12年历史上,苏格兰麦芽首次没有进入前五名。每个酒鬼和他们的爷爷都认识尊尼获加和卡蒂萨克。现在他们也认识了三得利。

In Japan, television fanned the flames further; a 2014 TV drama called Massan, based on the life of Nikka founder Masataka Taketsuru and his industrious Scottish wife Rita Cowan, helped the Japanese take renewed notice of their own products. Simultaneously, Suntory ran an aggressive ad domestic campaign to encourage younger Japanese to drink cheap highballs — whisky mixed with soda — fueling sales and depleting stock even more.

在日本,电视更是火上浇油;2014年,一部名为《马山》(masan)的电视剧讲述了日卡创始人竹鹤正孝(Masataka Taketsuru)和他勤劳的苏格兰妻子丽塔·考恩(Rita Cowan)的生活,这部电视剧帮助日本人重新注意到自己的产品。与此同时,三得利在日本国内进行了一场积极的广告宣传活动,鼓励日本年轻人喝廉价的海波酒(威士忌加苏打水的混合物),刺激了销售,进一步消耗了库存。

The buzz caught Suntory and Nikka off guard. After decades of patiently turning out top-notch single malts for a relatively indifferent domestic market, Nikka announced that their aged stock had run low, not just at retailers but inside their facilities. Unable to meet worldwide demand, they did what drinkers found unthinkable: They overhauled their lineup in 2015, replacing beloved aged whiskies with less expensive bottles of “no age statement” or “NAS” whiskies that blended young and old stock. Instead of Miyagikyo aged in barrels for 12 years, Nikka gave us plain Miyagikyo. 

这让三得利和Nikka猝不及防。几十年来,日佳一直耐心地为相对冷淡的国内市场生产一流的单一麦芽威士忌,如今,日佳宣布,他们的陈年库存已经不多了,不仅是在零售商,在工厂里也是如此。由于无法满足全球的需求,他们采取了让饮酒者难以想象的做法:2015年,他们彻底调整了自己的阵容,用更便宜的瓶装“无年龄声明”(no age statement)或“NAS”(NAS)威士忌取代了深受喜爱的陈年威士忌,这些威士忌混合了年轻和年老的股票。Nikka给我们的不是窖藏12年的宫吉酒,而是普通的宫吉酒。

Instead of Yoichi 10, 12, 15, and 20, there was straight-up Yoichi. Suntory had already added NAS versions of its age-statement Hibiki and Hakushu to conserve shrinking old stock and then went even further, banning company executives from drinking the older single malts to save product for customers. Yamazaki 12 still landed on American shelves, but in smaller quantities that sold out quickly, and Japanese buyers saw them less frequently back home.

不是Yoichi 10 12 15 20,而是直接的Yoichi。三得利(Suntory)已经添加了NAS版本的年龄说明Hibiki和Hakushu,以保存不断减少的旧库存,然后又更进一步,禁止公司高管饮用旧单麦芽威士忌,以便为顾客保留产品。山崎12号仍然在美国上架,但数量少了,很快就卖光了,日本买家回国后就不那么频繁了。

Longtime fans greeted Suntory's answer to the masses, called Toki, with skepticism and hostility. (In the words of one non-word-mincing Reddit poster: “Toki sucks. It's fucking terrible.”) Time in wood gives whisky complexity. That's how whisky works, but distillers didn't have enough old whisky anymore, and they seemed to be rationing what remained in order to blend their core lines while they continued aging what they hoped to bottle again. They were victims of their own success, and they needed time to catch up. Nikka's official press release put it this way: “With the current depletion, Yoichi and Miyagikyo malt whiskies, which are the base of most of our products, will be exhausted in the future and we will be unable to continue the business.”

长期以来,三得利的粉丝们以怀疑和敌意的态度对待三得利给名为“道木”(Toki)的群众的答案。(用红迪网(Reddit)一位毫不掩饰的发帖者的话来说:“Toki糟透了。在木头里的时间让威士忌变得复杂起来。这就是威士忌的工作原理,但酿酒师没有足够的陈年威士忌,他们似乎在限量供应剩余的威士忌,以混合他们的核心产品线,同时继续陈酿他们希望再次装瓶的威士忌。他们是自身成功的受害者,他们需要时间来迎头赶上。日卡的官方新闻稿是这样说的:“随着目前的枯竭,作为我们大部分产品基础的Yoichi和Miyagikyo麦芽威士忌将在未来枯竭,我们将无法继续经营下去。”

On the open market, the news created a frenzy that fueled the resale business. Japanese citizens who previously bought few Nikka malts scavenged whatever bottles they could. Chinese investors flew to Japan to gather stock to mark up. Stores in Tokyo inflated prices to gouge tourists, selling $873 bottles of Hakushu 18 that retailed for $300 in Oregon. Secondhand liquor stores collected and resold unopened bottles, many of which came from the elderly or deceased, who had received them as omiyage gifts but didn't drink whisky. Auction sites flourished. “We call this the ‘terminal aunt' syndrome,” Van Eycken wrote, “you know, the aunt you never visit until she's terminally ill.”

在公开市场上,这一消息引发了一场狂热,推动了转售业务的发展。以前很少买日卡麦芽威士忌的日本人会捡他们能捡到的所有瓶子。中国投资者纷纷飞赴日本收集股票,以期上涨。东京的商店通过抬高价格来哄骗游客,卖873美元一瓶的白狐18,而在俄勒冈州的零售价是300美元。二手酒店收集并转售未开封的酒,其中许多酒是老人或死者送给他们的伴手礼,但他们不喝威士忌。拍卖网站。“我们称这种为‘临终阿姨’综合征,”凡·埃肯写道,“你知道,就是那种除非她病入膏肓,你才会去看望她的阿姨。”

After the boom, foreign whisky fans took to the web to post about Japan's shifting stock. Obsessive types like me — what the Japanese call ‘otaku — shared updates about which bottles they found where and which stores were picked clean. “The Japanese whiskys here are in short supply still, short of the cheap stuff,” said one visitor in Fukuoka. Another foreigner proclaimed “the glory days of $100 ‘zawa's and easy to find single cask Hanyu's are over.” Gaijin enthusiasts would search cities in their free time while in Japan on business; others drove out into inaka, the sticks, systematically searching for rare or underpriced bottles at mom-and-pop shops. “On the bright side,” the same commenter reported in 2016, “I went into the boonies and found a small liquor distributor who had 2 Yoichi 10's and a bunch of dusties (Nikka Super 15, Suntory Royal 15, The Blend of Nikka 17 Maltbase, Once Upon a Time) all pretty cheap, between $18-$35 each. I know some of those dusties are not much more than mixer material, but it's nice to have a piece of history.” Others found these searches pointless. “Well as a point of fact there is no point for any foreigner to come to Japan in search of Japanese whisky,” Dramtastic wrote in 2015. “You will in many countries almost certainly find a better offering at home and if not, one of the online retailers.” He titled his post “Buying Japanese Whisky In Japan — Nothing But Scorched Earth!”

在繁荣之后,外国的威士忌爱好者们纷纷在网上发帖谈论日本威士忌库存的变动。像我这样有强迫症的人——日本人称之为“御宅族”——会分享他们在哪里找到的瓶子,以及哪些商店被清理干净的更新信息。一位福冈的游客表示:“这里的日本威士忌仍然供应不足,缺乏廉价的东西。”另一个外国人宣称“100美元一扎的和容易找到一桶的结弦的辉煌时代已经结束了。”“外国人狂热者在日本出差时,会在空闲时间搜索城市;其他人则驱车前往稻中(inaka, the sticks),系统性地在夫妻店里寻找稀有或价格过低的葡萄酒。“光明的一面,同样的评论者2016年报告,“我去了郊区,发现一个小酒经销商曾2 Yoichi 10和一堆尘土飞扬(Nikka超级15日三得利皇家15日的混合Nikka 17 Maltbase,从前)都很便宜,18 - 35美元之间。我知道有些灰尘不过是混合器的材料,但有一段历史也不错。其他人则认为这些搜索毫无意义。dramastic在2015年写道:“事实上,任何外国人来日本寻找日本威士忌都是没有意义的。”“在很多国家,你几乎肯定能在本国找到更好的产品,如果找不到,也可以在网上零售商那里找到。”他的帖子的标题是“在日本买日本威士忌——除了焦土什么都没有!”

When I finally got the money to travel overseas, there was only one real choice: Japan. For three weeks, I roamed Tokyo and Kyoto alone, where I shopped for my beloved canned sanma fish and green tea soy milk in grocery stores. I bought jazz CDs and Murakami books in Japanese I couldn't read. I wrote about capsule hotels and old jazz bars. I photographed my ramen and eel dinners, and I photographed bottles of whisky on store shelves.

当我终于有钱出国旅行时,我只有一个真正的选择:日本。我一个人在东京和京都逛了三周,在杂货店里买了我心爱的三马鱼罐头和绿茶豆浆。我买了爵士乐cd和村上的日语书,但我看不懂。我写过胶囊旅馆和古老的爵士酒吧。我拍摄我的拉面和鳗鱼晚餐,我拍摄商店货架上的威士忌酒瓶。

It wasn't that I didn't want them. I wanted them all: Yoichi 15, Hibiki 21, Miyagikyo 12. But as a traveler, practical considerations prevailed. I didn't have much money. My luggage already held too much stuff, and anyway, the products would be there next time. I bought a few bottles of common whisky to drink during my trip and went about my business.

并不是我不想要它们。我想要所有的:Yoichi 15, Hibiki 21, Miyagikyo 12。但作为一个旅行者,实际的考虑占了上风。我没有多少钱。我的行李已经装了太多东西了,不管怎样,下次产品会在那里的。我买了几瓶普通的威士忌酒在旅途中喝,然后就开始办事了。

I unwittingly found the largest selection of Japanese whisky on my final night in Japan.

在日本的最后一晚,我无意中发现了最大的日本威士忌品种。

I was staying near the busy Ikebukuro train station and went out seeking curry. I wandered around in the cold, shivering and sad about leaving. As I passed ramen shops and busy izakayas, I spotted a cluttered electronics store. Music blared. The interior had a cramped, carnival atmosphere. Blinding white light spilled out the front door. Red lettering on the building's reflective side said Bic Camera.

我住在繁忙的池袋火车站附近,出去找咖喱。我在寒冷中徘徊,颤抖着,为离开而悲伤。当我经过拉面店和繁忙的居酒屋时,我发现了一家杂乱的电子产品商店。音乐响起。室内有一种狭窄的、狂欢的气氛。耀眼的白光从前门洒了出来。建筑反射面上的红色字体写着Bic相机。

I didn't know it then, but the Bic Camera chain had nearly 40 stores nationwide. The stores often stand seven or eight stories in busy areas near train stations where pedestrians abound. In 2008, the company was valued at $940 million, and its founder, Ryuji Arai, was the 31st richest person in Japan. When Arai opened his original Tokyo camera store in 1978, he sold $3.50 worth of merchandise the first day. Today, Bic Camera is an all-purpose mega-store that sells seemingly everything but cars and fresh produce.

我当时不知道,比克相机连锁店在全国有近40家店。这些商店通常位于行人密集的火车站附近的繁忙地区,有七、八层楼高。2008年,该公司的估值为9.4亿美元,其创始人新井隆治(Ryuji Arai)在日本富豪榜上排名第31位。1978年,新井在东京开了一家相机店,第一天就卖出了价值3.5美元的商品。今天,Bic Camera是一家多功能的大型商店,几乎什么都卖,除了汽车和新鲜农产品。

Before the boom, Bic sold highly limited editions of whisky made exclusively for Bic, including an Ichiro 22-year and a Suntory blend. The stock is designed to compete with liquor stores that carry similar selections, though many Japanese shoppers come for the imported scotch and American bourbon. That night I couldn't tell any of that. I couldn't even tell if this was an upscale department store or a Japanese version of Walmart. In America, hip stories follow the “less is more” principle, with sparse displays that suggest they're also selling negative space and apathy. Bic crammed everything in.

在繁荣时期之前,比克公司专门销售限量版威士忌,包括一郎22年和三得利混合威士忌。虽然许多日本消费者来这里是为了购买进口的苏格兰威士忌和美国波旁威士忌,但这些商品的设计目的是与销售类似商品的酒类商店竞争。那天晚上我什么都不能说。我甚至分不清这是一家高档百货商店还是日本版的沃尔玛。在美国,流行故事遵循“少即是多”的原则,稀疏的展示表明他们也在销售消极的空间和冷漠。比克把所有东西都塞了进去。

I rode the escalator up for no other reason than to see what was there. Cell phones, cameras, TVs — the escalator provided a nice view of each floor. When I spotted booze on 4F, I jumped off. They had an entire corner devoted to liquor and a wall displaying Japanese whisky. 

我乘电梯上来只是为了看看那里有什么。手机、照相机、电视——从自动扶梯上可以把每一层楼的景色尽收眼底。当我看到四楼的酒时,我跳了下来。他们有整整一个角落卖酒,墙上挂着日本威士忌。

They had all the good ones I'd read about online but hadn't been able to find and others I didn't know. My luggage already contained so many CDs, clothes, and souvenirs that I'd have to mail some things home, but I grabbed two bottles anyway, I no longer remember which kind. I only remember gripping their cold glass necks like they were the last bottles on earth, desperate to bring just a bit more home, and I held them tightly as I wandered the aisles, studying the unreadable labels of aged whiskies and marveling at the business strategy of this mysterious store as I preemptively mourned my return to the States.

他们有所有我在网上读到但没能找到的好名字,还有一些我不知道。我的行李里已经装了这么多的cd、衣服和纪念品,我得把一些东西寄回家,但我还是拿了两瓶,我已经记不清是哪一种了。我只记得扣人心弦的冷玻璃脖子像他们是地球上最后一个瓶子,不顾一切的将只是更多的家,和我紧紧地抱着他们在走廊徘徊,研究不可读标签的陈年威士忌和惊叹这个神秘商店的商业策略我先发制人哀悼我回到美国。

A clerk in a black vest approached me and said something politely that I couldn't understand. With a smile, the man said something else and bowed, sorry, very sorry. He pointed to his watch. The store was closing, maybe it already had. He stood and stared. I looked at him and nodded. He stood nodding back. In that overwhelming corner, with indecipherable announcements blaring overhead, I considered my options and returned the bottles to the shelf, offering my apologies. Then I rode back down to the frigid street. The dark night felt darker away from Bic's fluorescence, as did the winter air.

一个穿着黑色背心的店员走近我,礼貌地对我说了些我听不懂的话。那人微笑着说了些别的事,然后鞠了个躬:对不起,非常抱歉。他指了指手表。商店要关门了,也许已经关门了。他站在那里盯着看。我看了看他,点了点头。他站在那里点头回应。在那个压倒性的角落里,头顶上传来听不懂的广播,我考虑着我的选择,把瓶子放回架子上,并表示歉意。然后我骑马回到寒冷的街道上。比奇的荧光让黑夜变得更黑,冬天的空气也一样。

The high-end whiskies in a locked case. Tokyo grocery store 2014. Photo by Aaron Gilbreath

锁在箱子里的高端威士忌。东京杂货店2014。Aaron Gilbreath拍摄

Like a good tourist — and like a dumbass — I photographed everything on that first trip, from tiny cars to bowls of udon to Japanese whisky displays. When I look at the photos of those rare bottles now, I see the last Tasmanian tiger slipping into the woods. The next season, it went extinct, and all I'd done was raise my camera at it. I had unwittingly visited the world's greatest Japanese whisky city and I had nothing to show for it.

像一个好游客一样——也像一个笨蛋一样——我在第一次旅行中拍下了所有的东西,从小车到乌冬面,再到日本威士忌展览。现在,当我看着那些稀有瓶子的照片时,我看到了最后一只塔斯马尼亚虎正溜进树林。下一季,它灭绝了,而我所做的就是举起相机对准它。我无意中造访了日本世界上最大的威士忌之都,却一无所获。

The trip ended. The regret lived on.

这次旅行结束了。遗憾一直挥之不去。

Partly, it was fed by money, or my lack thereof: Because I like having a few different styles of whisky at home, I wanted a range of Japanese styles, but I couldn't afford $100 bottles of anything, which meant I'd never get to taste many of these whiskies.

在一定程度上,这是由金钱驱动的,或者是我缺乏金钱:因为我喜欢在家里喝几种不同风格的威士忌,所以我想要各种日本风格的威士忌,但我买不起100美元一瓶的任何东西,这意味着我永远也没有机会品尝这些威士忌中的许多。

Part of it was nostalgia: I wanted to keep the memory of my time in Japan alive, to prolong the trip, by keeping its bottles on display at home.

部分原因是怀旧之情:我想把我在日本的记忆保留下来,延长我的旅程,把瓶子陈列在家里。

Mostly, it's driven by something much more ethereal. When people ask why I like whisky, I tell them it's the taste and smell. Scotch strikes a chord in me in a way that wine, bourbon, and cocktails do not. I spare them the more confusing truth, which even I struggle to articulate. Part of scotch's appeal comes from scarcity and craftsmanship. Its spare ingredients include only barley, spring water, wood, and the chemical reactions that occur between them.

大多数情况下,它是由某种更空灵的东西驱动的。当人们问我为什么喜欢威士忌时,我告诉他们是因为它的味道和气味。与葡萄酒、波旁威士忌和鸡尾酒相比,苏格兰威士忌更能引起我的共鸣。我不想让他们知道更令人困惑的真相,即使是我也难以说清楚。苏格兰威士忌的吸引力部分来自其稀缺性和工艺。它的备用原料只有大麦、泉水、木材以及它们之间发生的化学反应。

 And time: Aged spirits are old. For half of my 20s and all of my 30s — the time I was busting my ass after college, trying to build a career and learn to write well enough to tell a story like this — 18-year old Yamazaki whisky lay inside a barrel in a warehouse outside Osaka. That liquid and I lived our lives in parallel, steadily maturing, accruing character, until our paths finally crossed at a bar in Oregon.

和时间:年老的灵魂老了。我一半的20年代和30年代我所有的为难——我是我大学毕业后,试图建立一个职业,学会写好足以告诉这样的一个故事——18岁山崎威士忌躺在一个桶在大阪外的一个仓库。“液体”和我的生活是平行的,我们的性格不断成熟和积累,直到我们最终在俄勒冈州的一家酒吧相遇。

But it's more than age. Something magical happens in those barrels, where liquid interacts with wood in the dark, damp warehouses where barrels rest for decades. Aged whisky is a rare example of celebrating life moving at a slow, geological pace that is no longer the norm in our instant world. You can't speed up this process, and that makes the liquid precious. When you've waited 12 years for a whisky to come out of the cask, or 20 years — through wars and presidencies, political upheavals and ecological crises — that's longer than many people have been alive. And in a sense, the whisky itself is alive. 

但这不仅仅是年龄的问题。这些木桶里发生了一些神奇的事情,液体和木头在黑暗潮湿的仓库里相互作用,木桶在那里存放了几十年。陈年威士忌是一个罕见的例子,用来庆祝生命以缓慢的地质节奏移动,而这种节奏已不再是我们这个瞬息即逝的世界的常态。你不能加速这个过程,这使得液体变得珍贵。如果你为了一瓶威士忌从酒桶里出来已经等了12年,或者20年——经历了战争、总统任期、政治动荡和生态危机——这比许多人的寿命还要长。从某种意义上说,威士忌本身是有生命的。

That potent life force is preserved in that bottle. The drops are by nature limited, measured in ounces and milliliters, and that limitation puts another value on it. When the cap comes off your 750-milliliter bottle, you count: sip, sip, uh oh, 600 mils left, then 400, then a level low enough that you reserve the bottle for special occasions.

那股强大的生命力保存在那个瓶子里。液滴的性质是有限制的,用盎司和毫升来计量,这种限制给它加上了另一个值。当瓶盖打开750毫升的瓶子时,你数数:喝,喝,哦,还剩600毫升,然后是400毫升,再低到足够留到特殊场合使用。

The limited availability of certain whiskies adds another layer of scarcity value; when distilleries close, their whisky becomes irreplaceable. No more of those Hanyus or Karuizawas will ever get made. No more versions of the early 1990s Hibiki, since Suntory changed the formula. For distilleries that still operate, their whisky is irreplaceable, too. The exact combination of wood, temperature, and age will never produce the same flavor twice. Even when made according to a formula, whisky is a distinct expression of time and place. 

某些威士忌有限的供应增加了另一层稀缺价值;当酿酒厂关闭时,他们的威士忌变得不可替代。再也不会有那些汉尤或者轻扎瓦人出现了。上世纪90年代初的Hibiki不再有任何版本,因为三得利改变了配方。对于仍在运营的酿酒厂来说,他们的威士忌也是不可替代的。木材、温度和年代的精确组合不会产生相同的味道两次。即使是按照公式制作的威士忌,也是对时间和地点的一种独特表达。

The weather, the blender, the barley, the proximity to the sea, and of course, the barrels — sherry, port, or bourbon? — all impart a particular flavor along with the way blenders mix them. For Yamazaki 18, 80 percent of the liquid gets aged in sherry casks, the remaining 20 percent in American oak and mizunara. That deliberation and precision come from human expertise that takes a lifetime to acquire, and expertise, like the whisky it produces, is singular and therefore valuable.

天气,搅拌机,大麦,靠近大海,当然,还有酒桶——雪利酒,波特酒,还是波旁威士忌?-所有这些都能在搅拌机搅拌的过程中产生一种特殊的味道。对于山崎18来说,80%的液体在雪利酒桶中陈化,剩下的20%在美国橡木桶和水楢桶中陈化。这种谨慎和精确来自于人类的专业知识,而这种专业知识需要花费一生的时间才能获得,就像它生产的威士忌一样,是独一无二的,因此是有价值的。

When you sip whisky, you don't have to think about of any of this to enjoy it. You don't even have to name the flavors you taste. You can just silently appreciate it; it doesn't have to be any more complicated than that.

当你啜饮威士忌时,你不需要想这些来享受它。你甚至不需要说出你尝过的味道。你可以默默地欣赏它;没有比这更复杂的了。

For me, Japanese whisky became more complicated, because I also wanted it to give me something more than it could: a connection to a trip and a time that had passed.

对我来说,日本威士忌变得更加复杂,因为我也想让它给我一些它不能给我的东西:与旅行的联系和一段已经过去的时间。

In Japan, everything looked a certain way. The way stores displayed bottles. The way restaurants displayed food. The way businesses signs hung outside — Matsuya, Shinanoya, CoCo Curry House — and the way all of those images and colors and geometries combined in a raucous clutter of wires and Hiragana and Katakana to create urban Japan's distinctive look. When I returned home, I kept picturing those streets. They appeared in dreams and projected themselves on shower curtain as I washed in the morning. To stave off my hunger, I frequently ate at local Japanese restaurants, but even the most exacting decorations or grilled yakitori skewers couldn't fully give me what I wanted. So I fantasized about creating it myself, and then I did: my best replica of an underground Tokyo bar, in the corner of my basement, the bottles lined up just so.

在日本,每件事看起来都有特定的方式。商店陈列瓶子的方式。餐馆展示食物的方式。外面挂着松谷、筱野谷、咖喱屋等商业标志的方式,以及所有这些图像、颜色和几何图形在杂乱的电线、平假名和片假名中组合的方式,创造出了日本城市独特的外观。当我回到家,我一直在想象那些街道。它们出现在我的梦里,早上我洗澡的时候,它们投射在浴帘上。为了避免饥饿感,我经常去当地的日本餐馆吃饭,但即使是最苛刻的装饰或烧烤串也不能完全满足我的需求。所以我幻想着自己来创造它,然后我做到了:我最好的东京地下酒吧的复制品,在我地下室的角落里,瓶子排成一排。

When my wife, Rebekah, and I took our honeymoon to Japan in 2016, I hoped to make up for past errors. Instead, I found the scorched earth. Japanese liquor stores and grocers sold few of the rare bottles they did just two years earlier. The fancy department stores had no Karuizawa or Hanyu. And the aged whiskies I did find had price tags too big to afford. I bought none of them on that trip either. For the cost of a $130 Yoichi 12, I could buy three great bottles of regular hooch at home. After we returned, I kept scheming ways to return to Japan for just a few days. Since I couldn't, I satisfied myself with my display of empty whisky, sake, and Japanese beer bottles, and I kept scheming ways to get more domestic booze. A friend brought me a bottle of Kakubin while visiting her family in Tokyo. I asked a few friends in Japan to mail me bottles, even though regulations prohibit Japanese citizens from doing that. (They said no.)

2016年,我和妻子丽贝卡(Rebekah)去日本度蜜月时,我希望能够弥补过去的错误。相反,我发现了烧焦的土地。就在两年前,日本的酒类商店和杂货店卖出了很少的稀有葡萄酒。华丽的百货商店里没有轻井泽和羽弦。我找到的那些陈年威士忌标价太高,我负担不起。我那次旅行也没买。130美元的Yoichi 12,我可以在家里买三瓶普通的烈性烈性酒。我们回来后,我一直想办法回日本待几天。既然我不能,我就把空的威士忌、清酒和日本啤酒瓶摆出来,以此满足自己,并且不断地想办法弄到更多的国产酒。一个朋友在东京拜访她的家人时给我带来了一瓶Kakubin。我请几个在日本的朋友寄瓶子给我,尽管法规禁止日本公民这样做。(他们说不。)

There was only one way to get more whisky, and I couldn't afford the ticket.

只有一个办法能得到更多的威士忌,但我没钱买票。

Then in January an email about a discount flight to Tokyo landed in my inbox. Flights were crazy cheap. I had to go.

今年1月,我的收件箱里收到一封电子邮件,内容是一张飞往东京的打折机票。机票便宜得离谱。我得走了。

When I proposed this to Rebekah, she said, “Seriously?” She lay in bed, staring at me like I'd asked if she'd hop on a plane to Amsterdam in 10 minutes without packing. “Just hear me out,” I said, and outlined my impractical business plan for recouping expenses by throwing paid, tip-only whisky parties for booze no one could find anywhere else in Portland, where we live. “Think about it as a stock mission,” I said. “I'm buying inventory.” She stared at me unblinking. It's Japan, I said. It's right there, next to Oregon after all that water. We were basically neighbors! The quality of the whisky I'd buy would be lower than all the now-collectible bottles I passed up on my first trip, but at least I would do it right.

当我向丽贝卡求婚时,她说,真的吗?她躺在床上,盯着我,就像我问她是否会在10分钟内不带行李就登上飞往阿姆斯特丹的飞机。“听我说完,”我说,并概述了我不切实际的商业计划,通过举办有偿的、只收小费的威士忌派对来弥补开支,这种酒在我们居住的波特兰其他地方都找不到。“把它想成一次库存任务吧,”我说。“我购买库存。她目不转睛地盯着我。是日本,我说。就在那儿,俄勒冈州附近,那里有水。我们基本上就是邻居了!我将购买的威士忌质量会比我第一次旅行时放弃的那些现在可以收藏的威士忌要低,但至少我会做得很好。

I pictured myself flying to Tokyo in spring. The train from Narita Airport to Bic Camera in Kashiwa would wobble along the tracks, its brakes squeaking as it stopped at countless suburban platforms, with their walls of apartments and scent of fried panko. A 6 o'clock, the setting sun would cast the sides of buildings the color of summer peaches, and what little I could see of the sky would glow a blinding radish yellow. 

我想象着自己在春天飞往东京。从成田机场(Narita Airport)开往柏和(Kashiwa)的Bic Camera的列车会在轨道上摇摇晃晃,在无数郊区月台前停下,刹车发出吱吱声,月台周围是公寓的墙壁,散发着炸面包片的香味。六点钟的时候,夕阳会把建筑物的四周照得像夏天的桃子,我所能看见的天空也会发出一种令人目眩的萝卜黄色光芒。

My knees would hurt from sitting on that plane for 11 hours, so I'd stand by the train door to stretch them the way I had during my first Tokyo trip, watching the 7-Eleven signs and giant bike racks pass, and posing triumphantly over time and my own pigheadedness. I'd buy as many bottles of domestic Japanese whisky as my one piece of rolling luggage would hold without exceeding the airline's 50-pound limit. In a life marked by stupid things, this would be one of the stupidest. I'd feel endlessly grateful. The bottles would keep me connected me to Japan, to that trip, date-stamped by its ephemerality, just like the numbers on the bottles of aged whisky: 10, 12, 15, 20 years.

我的膝盖会因为在飞机上坐上11个小时而疼痛,所以我会像我第一次去东京旅行时那样站在火车门口伸伸懒腰,看着7- 11的标志和巨大的自行车架经过,随着时间的推移和我自己的顽固不化而摆出胜利的姿势。在不超过航空公司规定的50磅上限的情况下,我会买多少瓶日本国产威士忌就买多少瓶。在一个以愚蠢为标志的生活中,这将是最愚蠢的生活之一。我会感激不尽的。这些瓶子会让我与日本保持联系,与那次旅行保持联系。这些瓶子上的日期都是短暂的,就像陈年威士忌酒瓶上的数字一样:10年、12年、15年、20年。

I never bought the plane ticket. There was little there to buy anyway. In 2018, Suntory announced that it would severely limit the availability of Hibiki 17 and Hakushu 12 in most markets. Soon after, Kirin announced it would discontinue its beloved, inexpensive, domestic Fuki-Gotemba 50 blend. Stock had simply run out. I'd bought a few good bottles for low prices before the boom and they stood in our basement bar, where we drank them, not hoarded them for future resale. Drinking is what whisky is for. The bottles stood as reminders that I had done a few things right. 

我从没买过飞机票。反正那里也没什么可买的。2018年,三得利宣布将严格限制Hibiki 17和Hakushu 12在大多数市场的供应。不久之后,麒麟宣布将停产其心爱的廉价国产Fuki-Gotemba 50混合酒。存货已经用完了。在经济繁荣之前,我以低价买了几瓶好酒,放在我们的地下酒吧里喝,而不是囤积起来以后再卖。威士忌是用来喝酒的。这些瓶子提醒着我,我做对了几件事。

And maybe we should think less about what we missed and more about what is yet to come. In 2013 and 2014, Suntory expanded its distilling operations to increase production. It, Nikka, Kirin, and many smaller companies have laid down a lot of whisky, and when all that whisky has sufficiently aged there will be a lot of 10-to-15-year-old whiskies on the market — maybe as early as 2020 or 2021. “I always tell people not to worry about not being able to drink certain older whiskies that are no longer available,” Osaka bar owner Teruhiko Yamamoto told writer Brian Ashcraft. “Scotch whisky has a long tradition, but right now it feels like Japanese whisky is entering a brand new chapter. We're seeing whisky history right before our eyes.”

也许我们应该少想想我们错过了什么,多想想未来。2013年和2014年,三得利扩大了其蒸馏业务,以增加产量。It、日卡、麒麟和许多较小的公司已经推出了大量的威士忌,当这些威士忌足够成熟时,市场上会有大量10到15年的威士忌——可能最早在2020年或2021年。大阪酒吧老板山本光彦对作家布莱恩•阿什克拉赫说:“我总是告诉人们,有些年份较久的威士忌现在已经卖不到了,不用担心喝不到。”“苏格兰威士忌有着悠久的传统,但现在感觉日本威士忌正进入一个全新的篇章。威士忌的历史就在我们眼前。”

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