Drink these rare drams at Miro's whiskey lounge before it's too late

Written by
Danielle Silva

There are unicorns in Miro’s basement. Whiskey geeks know what we’re talking about: Those uber-rare bottles that die-hard fans are willing to shell out upwards of $300 for, even empty ones on eBay. Perhaps the name Pappy Van Winkle rings a bell? Well, this shrine to brown liquor—housed in a former wine cellar hidden in the new Downtown restaurant's underground bar—has the 23-year bottle. It resides in what they call the “holy shit” cabinet, which also contains 32-year Port Ellen, 13-year Karuizawa Noh and Kavalan Single Malt. Salivating yet? The bar’s entire stock includes roughly 400 high-age statement and closed-distillery whiskeys from across the globe. We’re talking about a living, breathing collection; once a bottle is gone, it’s gone. Thankfully, we had Harry Lewin, one of the lounge’s whiskey masters, share exactly what serious drinkers should try (not just from the “holy shit” cabinet) before word spreads. The bar serves both 1- and 2-oz pours, but Lewin recommends opting for the former to get the most out of a visit. 

For a Japanese whiskey novice: Nikka From the Barrel ($20 for 1 oz)
This easy-sipper is characterized by an utterly smooth mouthfeel with a flavor that evolves from grassy to nutty to vanilla. “Don’t drink it like wine,” Lewin says. “Let it coat your throat, and then let it go down.” It’s a great place to start for those who have never tried Japanese whiskey. 

For the adventurous palate: Octomore ($32 for 1 oz) 
Lewin describes this one perfectly: “It’s killer, man.” Seriously, we’re not exaggerating when we say sipping this is like being hit in the face by smoke off a backyard grill. Peated to over 200ppms (that's phenol parts per million), this whiskey is released when the massive phenols are at their most vital. Put it in a glass and swirl it around. Lewin says, “It smells like bacon.” 

For a different kind of peaty: Hakushu Heavily Peated Single Malt Whiskey ($45 for 1 oz)
There are only 3,000 bottles of the limited-edition whiskey made from heavily peated barley and distilled in Japan’s southern Alps. This is Beam Suntory's version of a peaty scotch, but it’s a Japanese whiskey through and through. “It’s not intentionally knocking you in the gut,” Lewin says. “It’s more proper and elegant.” And he’s right—there’s absolutely no mineralogy. It's the perfect expression to help broaden peaty fans' whiskey horizons. 

For the Macallan drinker with an open mind: Blackadder Raw Cask Macallan 1990 ($36 for 1 oz) 
This independent bottler is known for distilling single cask whiskey with very little or no filtering. As Lewin puts it: “They don’t do anything to the juice once it’s out, so you get all of those oils and fatty acids.” That's what gives it a cloudy look when poured over one of the lounge’s fancy emerald-shaped ice cubes. The taste is thick and oaky. This bottle in particular is one of only 250 drawn at cask strength, which, according to Lewin, makes it more exclusive than some small run batches from larger distilleries.

For the most sought-after bottle in the bar: Kavalan Solist Sherry Cask ($30 for 1 oz) 
Ever had Taiwanese single malt whiskey? Now’s the time to try it. This one’s a tough bottle to find. Matured in specially selected Spanish Oloroso sherry casks, the resulting flavor is unlike anything you would expect. On the nose, it has a vibrant, fruity smell, with a taste that starts off with some of that berry aroma, but is shortly followed by an oaked vanilla flavor. This is #whiskeyporn at its finest. No one will judge you if you snap a pic for social media. 

Want more whiskey options? Check out our guide to LA's best whiskey bars

You may also like
You may also like