Sourcing many of Japan’s more obscure and luxury sakes has always been a challenge even in Japan itself, but it would seem Shanghai is in luck with the arrival of Hong Kong native Ray Cheng. Cheng’s many years in the liquor business has resulted in the newly launched Cordurov – his own premium sake and single malt whiskey tasting gallery – which, true to Japanese style, is minimalist, peaceful and subtly tucked away from the nearby bustling West Fuxing Road.
There’s only one expansive cedarwood table in the main sake tasting hall to encourage guest interaction and discussion, while the brews on display vary from the affordable to the incredibly rare. Hatsukame is perfect for beginners as each sake offers delineated flavours, while limited edition Isojiman Vintage, Reisen bubbly Nigori, and Bunkajin Mandarin Liquor are at the more unusual end of the spectrum. Meanwhile lined up in the 4-seater whisky room are a couple dozen single malts (mostly from Cheng’s private collection) with neither written menu nor price variation (98rmb, or 108rmb over hand-chipped ice) – Cheng hopes this will allow guests to explore the different whiskies, some rare and some less so, without having their opinion affected by price. However, entry is permitted by appointment only, so book ahead.