One-fifths of the world’s population is celebrating today (February 19, 2015) since it is Day 1 of the Lunar Calendar Year¹. In Chinese culture, this new year is the Year of the Sheep or Goat. It’s either sheep or goat because, in Chinese, the word “yáng refers both to goats and sheep, with shānyáng specifically goats and miányáng sheep” [source: Wikipedia].
Aside from many traditions such as wearing red, cleaning the home, hanging the Chinese character for fortune upside down and eating heartily (especially dumplings, fish and this black moss called fa cai), another tradition is to drink and be merry. For Chinese people, the Lunar New Year is Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s combined. Festivities are aplenty. (Just look at the two-week long “out-of-office” replies you get when you try to reach Chinese business people during this time.)
Anyways, back to drinking and being merry. We wanted to celebrate this event in our own Whiskey Me Up style. We learned, through The China Travel Guide, that people born in the Year of the Sheep / Goat are known to have “special sensitivity to art and beauty.”
Well, we couldn’t just let the Sheep/Goat-ers have all the fun. It is, after all, the beginning to a baaaaaaad-ass new year! (Couldn’t help ourselves.)
Thus, we scoured the web to find whiskeys distilled in Asia² that are artistic and beautiful in their own deliciousness. (Apparently, there are just not that many.) So, below is a very short list of our favorites to try.
Our Very Short Lunar New Year Celebration List:
- Yamazaki 12 (Japan). Well-balanced. Not smokey. Hints of dried fruits and honey. We typically recommend this to Whiskey Personas™: Modern Lady, Modern Gent or Entrepreneur. [See product site.]
- Hakushu 12 (Japan). Subtle smoke. Crisp with hints of green apple and sweet pair. And, green tea. We typically recommend this to Whiskey Personas: Modern Gent, Fashion Icon or Hipster. [See product site.]
- Kavalan Single Malt (Taiwan). Light. Refreshing. Hints of tropical fruit, especially mango. And, a bit of spiciness. We typically recommend this to Whiskey Personas: Modern Lady or Modern Gent. [See product site.]
And, if you find yourself lucky, celebrate this day with a bottle of the Whisky Bible‘s “2015 World Whisky of the Year” Yamazaki Single Malt Sherry Cask 2013. (Read Scotch Rose’s interview with Jim Murray, the author of Whisky Bible.)
Lunar New Year is also celebrated by many other Asian cultures (Japanese, Korean, Mongolian, Tibetan and Vietnamese).
There are numerous whisky distillers in India. For more information, go to Wikipedia’s page on Indian whiskies.