The earthquakes and resulting tsunamis in the area have focused the world’s attention on Japan, and on a crisis unprecedented in scale in that country since WWII. Thousands are dead, hundreds of thousands are surviving in life-threatening conditions, and the damage to property and infrastructure has been devastating in the extreme. Luckily, if indeed luck has any meaning in the greater context, the whisky industry can be grateful for small mercies. The facility most affected, Nikka’s Miyagikyo distillery, is reported to be relatively unscathed, having escaped with some minor damage to stock. However it is located adjacent to some of the most heavily affected communities, so there is a high likelihood that staff, suppliers, and/or their families may be suffering. I’m sure that all of our thoughts are with them. In this time of tragedy for the Japanese people, I thought a tribute to their whisky industry and culture might be appropriate. I tasted a great Japanese whisky over the weekend, and today I’m expecting a Japanese ice-ball mould in the post. If it arrives as scheduled I intend to prepare an ice-ball mizuwari (see my previous post: https://wordsonwhisky.wordpress.com/2011/03/09/shaken-not-stirred/) tonight, to serve as further inspiration for the tribute, which I’ll post tomorrow. Join me then in honouring this great nation and offering them solidarity during these difficult hours.