This book has been on the way from the very moment whisky writer Dave Broom first set foot on Japanse soil years ago.
Not only is it about Japanese whisky; it is also about the people working in the industry who recreated the art of whisky making in a time period after World War One and in a rather difficult geopolitical situation. It is also a book about a man setting off on a cultural road trip, a quest for the essence of Japanse whisky making. Both the author and the photographer have been drawing a map on which we, as readers and travelers can make a journey that takes us through the unknown world of Japan. ‘A journey around Japanese whisky’ as author Dave Broom adds to the title.
As from the very start of the book I was drawn into the very heart of Japanese whisky making. Broom is trying to pin point the ‘smell of temples’, the cultural terroir in Japan, the passion of artisans (shokunin), the plethora of aromas, the palate, the landscape and the mystery of mizunara (Japanese oak).
Like no other photographer Kohei Take conjures up a world that is mysterious on the one hand and open and transparent on the other. It is the easthetic behind Take’s craftsmanship, his lack of ornamentation, his haiku way of observing his own Japanese society that is so fascinating. But there is always the feeling that you cannot comprehend unless you have been at the place.
On top of this and as an all governing principle is the underlying kaizen (改善) philosophy: continual improvement on all levels of the process in Japanese businesses. If human involvement is one of the aspects of terroir, kaizen is the way to make it work. Dave Broom’s book has finally arrived and gives us the insight we were so desperately longing for. A must read.
The Way of Whisky: A Journey Around Japanese Whisky by Dave Broom (ISBN: 9781784721428)