“Lost in Translation” Suntory scene (with translation)

October 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

To conclude this week’s post: HIBIKI 12 REVIEW, I thought it best to end with one of my favorite scenes from the movie that inspired so many of us to seek out a bottle of Hibiki in the first place; Lost in Translation with Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson.

As an added bonus, I have also included the full English translation of the Director and Interpreter’s conversation below the clip (spoiler alert, it’s great!).  May I suggest before pressing play, first throw an ice-cube in your favorite rocks glass and top it off with a nice blended whisky? … enjoy.

And now, for the translation!


DIRECTOR (in Japanese to the interpreter): The translation is very important, O.K.? The translation.

INTERPRETER: Yes, of course. I understand.

DIRECTOR: Mr. Bob-san. You are sitting quietly in your study. And then there is a bottle of Suntory whiskey on top of the table. You understand, right? With wholehearted feeling, slowly, look at the camera, tenderly, and as if you are meeting old friends, say the words. As if you are Bogie in “Casablanca,” saying, “Cheers to you guys,” Suntory time!

INTERPRETER: He wants you to turn, look in camera. O.K.?

BOB: That’s all he said?

INTERPRETER: Yes, turn to camera.

BOB: Does he want me to, to turn from the right or turn from the left?

INTERPRETER (in very formal Japanese to the director): He has prepared and is ready. And he wants to know, when the camera rolls, would you prefer that he turn to the left, or would you prefer that he turn to the right? And that is the kind of thing he would like to know, if you don’t mind.

DIRECTOR (very brusquely, and in much more colloquial Japanese): Either way is fine. That kind of thing doesn’t matter. We don’t have time, Bob-san, O.K.? You need to hurry. Raise the tension. Look at the camera. Slowly, with passion. It’s passion that we want. Do you understand?

INTERPRETER (In English, to Bob): Right side. And, uh, with intensity.

BOB: Is that everything? It seemed like he said quite a bit more than that.

DIRECTOR: What you are talking about is not just whiskey, you know. Do you understand? It’s like you are meeting old friends. Softly, tenderly. Gently. Let your feelings boil up. Tension is important! Don’t forget.

INTERPRETER (in English, to Bob): Like an old friend, and into the camera.


DIRECTOR: You understand? You love whiskey. It’s Suntory time! O.K.?


DIRECTOR: O.K.? O.K., let’s roll. Start.

BOB: For relaxing times, make it Suntory time.

DIRECTOR: Cut, cut, cut, cut, cut! (Then in a very male form of Japanese, like a father speaking to a wayward child) Don’t try to fool me. Don’t pretend you don’t understand. Do you even understand what we are trying to do? Suntory is very exclusive. The sound of the words is important. It’s an expensive drink. This is No. 1. Now do it again, and you have to feel that this is exclusive. O.K.? This is not an everyday whiskey you know

INTERPRETER: Could you do it slower and —

DIRECTOR: With more ecstatic emotion.

INTERPRETER: More intensity.

DIRECTOR (in English): Suntory time! Roll.

BOB: For relaxing times, make it Suntory time.

DIRECTOR: Cut, cut, cut, cut, cut! God, I’m begging you.

(Translation credit: What Else Was Lost in Translation By MOTOKO RICH)


And if you got through all that and want just a bit more, well, what could be better than a little “Lip My Stockings” ??  Amazing movie.  Great whisky.  Perfect for a rainy Thursday!

Pure genius.


Japanese Whisky: Suntory’s Hibiki 12yr

October 25, 2011 § 26 Comments

To say I’m a fan of Japanese Whisky is a huge understatement.   Unfortunately for me, I live in the US where our options for Japanese Whiskies are very limited.  Luckily, we do have access to a few product by Suntory.

While I’m a bigger fan of their Yamazaki single malts (see my earlier post HERE), I do also try to keep a bottle of the Hibiki 12 on hand, despite it’s somewhat higher price tag (between $60-$70 USD).  The Hibiki series is a blend of more than 30 different single malts and grain whisky from the Chita distillery.  The oldest of the malt being a 75 year old Yamazaki that has been aged in 100% Japanese oak casks.  Once the whiskies have been combined, Suntory finishes them for 1 year in matured umé (plumb wine) barrels.

Ok, let’s get down to business!


ABV: 43% (86 proof)

NOSE: lavender floral, burnt sugar, honey, fresh apple, maturing cask “dust”, a light apple cider vinegar next to the rooibos tea notes

TASTE: Beautifully balanced and changes evenly through the various flavors like the changing of the seasons.  Crème brûlée, caramel apple to lemon peel, then moves into some spiced earthy tea and light wood flavors

FINISH:  Long and lingering, rounded oak, rich earth under the lighter notes, ends with a bit of fresh ground black pepper on the tip of the tongue and lips

Have you tried this before?  What do you think?

Fabulous Fall and a Liebster Blog Award!

October 18, 2011 § 10 Comments

Hello friends!

The weather has finally changed, the sweaters are on and the whisky is being generously poured.  Yup, it’s Fall!  My favorite time of year.  And in all of this merriment, imagine my excitement (and surprise!) when my fellow blogger, A Hint of Garlic, nominated The Whisky Woman for a Liebster Blog Award!  Thanks so much, HoG!

The Liebster Blog Award is given to recognize your favorite up-and-coming bloggers who have fewer than 200 subscribers, and that you feel deserve more. It’s a cool way to meet more folks and learn some new things.

Rules are:

  1. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you.
  2. Reveal your top 5 bloggers and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
  3. Copy and paste the award on your blog.

And we are be thrilled to nominate the following blogs; 

Words On Whisky – a great, thorough blogger who writes about the whisky he drinks and his interesting experiences that define these events.


Champagne and Heels – an amazing fashion stylists who has a sharp eye for fashion and culture.  Her finger is always on the pulse (and tho she doesn’t mention it, she does love whisky so she’s definitely fly in my book!)


One Taste Rule  – seriously great eats that are seriously healthy (a great balance to my whisky-rich diet!)


The Glass and Bottlea “beverage” blogger who writes equally well about whisky, wine & beer – can’t go wrong on this site!


The Casksan awesome West Coast whisky blogger who will keep you in the loop on what he’s tasting and where you can get your “tastes” on too! Lots of other info in between – a great resource.

Thanks to all of you, my rock-star readers, followers & drop in’s – your support keeps The Whisky Woman going!
Many, many humble thanks.

White Whiskey: Koval’s “Rye Chicago”

October 14, 2011 § 9 Comments

White Whiskey.  Moonshine.  White Dog.  Prohibition.

This Whisky Woman enjoys an occasional un-aged whiskey.

No, I am not talking about re-visiting our college days of paint-thinner tasting Everclear – that hurts just thinking about it.  I am only talking about craft un-aged whiskies.  (I don’t think Everclear is actually a “whiskey” but you get the idea)

Why craft?  Because the small scale distillers who are really making their products from grain to spirit are like pastry chefs; both being extremely careful during the cooking process to ensure that the end product is both delicate and flavorful.  They take their time to really develop the flavors of the grains.

Typically, these un-aged pistols are corn based but I have been loving Koval’s Rye Chicago Whiskey recently.  (See my earlier post on Koval HERE).  Made from 100% organic RYE, I was surprised to find this to be so smoother and aromatic, especially when compared to it’s classic, rougher cereal-forward cousins.

Nose: black pepper, floral, orange citrus, eucalyptus, cereal
Palate: sugar coated eucalyptus, orange zest, sweetened rosemary (or pine)
Finish: long and dry, orange peel that moves into a black pepper and sugar mixture

100% Organic Rye from the American Midwest
Only the “hearts” cut of the distillates are used

40 % abv / 90 proof
750ml glass bottles
If you’re not a fan of drinking these neat or with ice/water, then try a white whiskey in your favorite Bloody Mary recipe!  The complexity of the whiskey (verses the flavorless vodka) really kicks it up a notch!

Gold Medal, 2010 “White Whisky”, American Distilling Institute, USA
Gold Medal, 2010 “Grain Spirit”, Destillata Spirits Competition, Europe

Lastly, I love drinking this with a lemon-based dessert!  Deee-lish!

“Cask Strength” vs. Bottle Strength

October 6, 2011 § 13 Comments

I had this conversation with a distiller the other day and I was surprised (and perhaps ignorant / stuck in a bubble / etc…) that what I thought was “common knowledge” is, in fact, not.

Do whisky and spirit drinkers really understand the difference between Cask Strength & Bottle Strength whiskies?  Furthermore, do they know what to do with a cask strength whisky?

This distiller thinks that people still need to be educated on the matter.  I, however, think that consumers know the difference and know how to enjoy them.   Perhaps I am wrong … what do you think?


Just to clear up any confusion, doubt or appease any general curiousities, I’ve outlined the key points that I think are important to know about this high-powered spirit.  Fellow bloggers & whisky enthusiasts, I invite you to chime in, please.

1) WHAT: Cask Strength is the whisky straight from the cask.  No water added.  Typically in the 55%-60% abv range (double those numbers to know the proof) vs. the more common 40%-45% abv of most bottled whiskies.

2) WHY: Bottling whiskies at Cask Strength is typically reserved for the upper premium whiskies.  This is more expensive for both the producer and the consumer because the product is more concentrated and the distiller get’s fewer number of bottles to sell out of a single cask.  You, the consumer, get more whisky (same volume, but more actual whisky).

3) BENEFIT: What’s great about having a cask strength whisky is that you then get to take over and play “blender” by controlling the amount of water you add in your glass.

4) HOW TO:  Let me repeat myself, you (the consumer) get to add the amount of water you would like instead of having this pre-done by the distiller.  If you have the pleasure of tasting a cask strength whisky, make sure you know what to expect.  This is going to be much stronger than what you’re used to (unless you make it a habit to drink these, in which case, my hat’s off to you).   Essentially, you’re buying whole spices here, not the pre-ground McCormick shaker.  Proceed excitedly with educated caution.

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