WOLF AND CRANE IN DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES
TAKING JAPANESE WHISKEY TO THE NEXT LEVEL
Little Tokyo Los Angeles (Spiritsman) 7/12/17/–I was invited to a private Japanese Whiskey tasting recently at Wolf & Crane Bar in Little Tokyo in Los Angeles and the experience helped further my knowledge of this surprising and amazing explosion in the whiskey world. The bar which takes its name from the 3,000 year old Aesop Fables is owned by Michael Francesconi and Matthew Glaser, and the ebullient mixologists are part of the reason the bar is becoming very popular. I also went back on a Friday night and the place was jumping with young Japanese drinkers, a far cry from the middle aged Japanese businessmen I was expecting to see.
Whiskey with Wolves is the chance for novices and experts alone to experience a true flight of Japanese Whiskey with some other nationalities thrown in for good measure which can range vastly in price. Each glass is a ½ oz pour with a minimum of $38 in total for the entire flight, although if you go for some of the high end premium brands you will far exceed that. Also this is strictly a bar, with no food served at all.
I started out with the Suntory Reserve ($30) on a freshly opened bottle to start my libacious journey, and moved on to the Weller Antique ($4), a wheated bourbon that had surprising silkiness and a nice finish. Next up came the Elijah Craig 68% barrel proof strength with a very long finish. Elijah Craig was a Baptist preacher who has been credited as the founder of bourbon well over 200 years ago. Heaven Hill Distillery launched the brand in 1986 and they have been building on the legend of Elijah Craig ever since and people now believe that,
Nikka is a major distiller in Japan, so it was almost imperative to have one of their selections in the mix. The Nikka Coffee Grain($6) was a delightful choice by the bartenders, and the program also offers nine other Nikka selections topped off with the Nikka Taketsuru 21 ($25) The heavily peated Suntory Hakushu($35) was also an outstanding choice by the bartenders, and they also have less expensive versions such as the 10, 12 and 18 year selections.
Star of the show had to be the 3 plus 25 Mars Maltage, a rarely seen whiskey that general manager Daniel Baeza was cradling like a new born baby. Aged for 28 years, this one will put you back $110 a shot, and it comes from the Mars Shinsu Distillery which is owned by Hombo Shuzo, who apparently visited Wolf and Crane the last time he was in town. By all accounts the distillery welcomes visitors, but it is in such a remote area that few are interested. Those that do have used the word ‘outstanding’to sum up their experience.
Wolf and Crane-366 East 2nd St, Los Angeles