Two different ways to raise a glass to the greatest pugilist of the manga/anime world.

There’s a distinctly hazy quality to the artwork of Ashita no Joe, Japan’s most famous boxing manga/anime franchise. A combined result of the popular aesthetics and imaging technology of the late ‘60s/early ‘70s, it works as a visual metaphor for a Japan that was searching for its post-war identity, and sometimes it almost feels like you’re watching Joe Yabuki’s machismo-soaked journey from orphaned street urchin to professional boxing legend through the comfortable fog of a few stiff drinks.

And should you happen to be a fan who’s craving some actual alcoholic refreshment, there’s now a fitting choice, with two different Ashita no Joe whiskies going on sale in Japan.

Created for online whisky retailer Whisky Mew, both are Scotch single malts selected with the expertise of esteemed Japanese whisky critic Hideo Yamaoka.

The first of the two, featuring Joe’s face in profile on the label, is a blended single malt aged for 26 years, produced by Speyside distillery Allt-A-Bhainne, the primary malt supplier for Chivas Regal. The 48.9-percent alcohol-by-volume Ashita no Joe Allt-a-Bhainne 1993’s flavor is one of well-balanced spice and sweet wort leading to a woody finish, with a gentle aroma of light toffee, sakura mochi, and umeshu (Japanese plum wine).

Alternatively, there’s the “Last Joe” label Secret Highland 1985. Also distilled in Scotland, this 47.6-percent-alochol has been aged for 34 years, and delivers a woody, sweetly nutty flavor that finishes with a floral note, and smells of caramel, chilled apple pie, and orange marmalade.

The bottles are identically sized at 700 milliliters (23.7 ounces), with the Allt-a-Bhainne 1993 priced at 27,000 yen (US$260) and the Secret Highland 1985 at 52,000 yen. Production is limited to 178 bottles each, and both go on sale March 8 here through Whisky Mew’s online shop (though the shop is sadly sold out of its Fist of the North Star whisky).

Source: Whisky Mew via Japaaan
Top image: Whisky Mew
Insert images: Whisky Mew

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Follow Casey on Twitter, where he drinks to erase the memory of the Legend of Success Joe Neo Geo game.