Industry Weekly

[First Sip]

Sushisamba brings a curated Japanese whiskey stash to the table

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The Palazzo restaurant’s collection reflects the three “founding fathers” of Japanese whiskeys.
Chris Wessling
Brittany Brussell

Sake and shochu might be Japan’s stalwart spirits, but it’s also becoming a whiskey wonderland, producing some of the most in-demand brands around the world. Luckily, Sushisamba at the Palazzo has managed to snag more than a few bottles and recently unveiled the largest Japanese whiskey list in Las Vegas.

The collection reflects the three “founding fathers” of Japanese whiskeys—Kiichiro Iwai of Mars, Masataka Taketsuru of Nikka and Shinjiro Torii of Suntory—plus the new generation: Ichiro and Akashi.

“What I love about the Japanese is that they are true and honorable to the ingredients, and at the same time remaining playful through experimentation with bourbon casks and different climates,” says Hayes Swope, Sushisamba’s director of operations.

To mark this intoxicating achievement, enthusiasts can preorder a curated menu of single malt, blended and grain whiskeys in addition to dishes that accentuate the distinct profiles and versatility of each spirit. They can also test the waters with a featured course and whiskey combination each week through April 10.

Standouts in the lineup include a Wagyu cocktail that treats Iwai Japanese whiskey to a wash of the highest grade Wagyu beef before marrying it with maple and salted caramel, and finishing it with a lemon rind to add balance. Then there’s the Suntory Hakushu 12-year single malt, perfect for highlighting the salty notes of smoked ocean trout roe. And don’t forget the Akashi Single Malt 5-year Sherry Cask—only 1,000 bottles exist!—perfect for bringing out the sweetness of aji panca barbecue-sauced robata pork ribs.

Sushisamba at Palazzo, 702-607-0700; Sunday-Wednesday 11:30 a.m.-1 a.m., Thursday-Saturday 11:30 a.m.-2 a.m.

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