Konnichiwa, Suntory! Whisky sips and bites at 12th Avenue Grill

Konnichiwa, Suntory! Whisky sips and bites at 12th Avenue Grill

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Some of the featured whiskies at 12th Avenue Grill on June 29.

“Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.” ~ Mark Twain

Whiskey originated in Scotland, but Japan took the industry by storm about 10 years ago when Suntory unseated legendary distilleries as the “world’s best” in the International Spirits Awards … and has been gaining recognition ever since as a luxury brand in whisky.* Now, aficionados have a chance to try extremely allocated aged Japanese whiskies at a special pairing dinner at 12th Avenue Grill.

At $295 per person, it may seem steep, but those who drink Japanese whisky know that the labels featured retail from about $40 a bottle to $500 per bottle. How many of you buy a bottle like that for yourself? Here’s a way to taste that whisky you’ve been pining for, and to know if it lives up to the hype.

The dinner —part of the restaurant’s 13-year anniversary celebration — will feature six whiskies, in order: 17 year Hibiki and 21 year Hibiki; 12 year Yamazaki and 18 year Yamazaki; 12 year Hakushu and 18 year Hakushu.

Antelope jerky goes surprisingly well with Hibiki.

The Hibiki will be paired with marinated Ni’ihau antelope jerky and Kona cold lobster tartare with Tahitian lime, lychee, caviar, and curried coconut sauce.

Kona cold lobster with Hibiki.

The Yamazaki will be paired with pan-fried duck liver and confit gizzards with house made bacon and roasted shallot-Dijon sauce; as well as grilled Maui Cattle Co. beef heart with pickled scallions, toasted cashews, and ginger glaze.

Maui Cattle Co. beef heart.

And the Hakushu will be paired with yukare-seared Big Island kampachi tatami served with Hawaii Kai lava salt, Nalo chiso, rayu, and soy pearls; house-smoked New Zealand salmon rillettes with crispy won ton pi, and white anchovies caper relish.

The tasting will be finished off with an entree, salt crusted Hawaiian onaga and bamboo jade rice with toasted garlic and sesame watercress.

Note, it’s not just a tasting with pairings; Suntory reps will be the hosts and will walk participants through the history and blends to make it an interactive educational event.

Suntory Japanese Whisky Tasting ~ $295 per person
June 29 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.
12th Avenue Grill
1120 12th Ave.
808-732-9469