Kayama-San and his Magnum Opus: A Glimpse (鹿山博康とBenFiddichの内部)

If you’ve had your ears to the ground, you’ve already heard the names “Kayama San” and “Bar BenFiddich” do the rounds. We caught up with Kayama-San on a recent trip to Tokyo and without mincing our words, let’s just say he’s all that and more.

Walking into BenFiddich is a bit like walking into a sanctum to get ordained. That’s how I felt anyway. As I took my seat at the centre of this beautiful bar, I felt like a privileged member of the audience who was there to watch Kayama-San wield his wand like a wizard in his den. Watching him at work is oddly satisfying as he holds your attention when he’s speaking with you and then lures your gaze into his swift movements as he builds your drink with incredible flair. The hushed voices in the room make way for the lush sounds of bottle corks popping, ice cubes dancing in mixing glasses, herbs being crushed in rustic troughs, and liquid being poured into curious glassware that has been carefully picked to round up each drink.

『BenFiddich』と『鹿山さん』と言えば一度は聞いたことがあるのではないだろうか。

私達は最近の旅行でインドから日本へ

『鹿山さん』に逢いに行きました。

期待は膨らみます。

BenFiddichに立ち入るのは聖域に足を踏み入れるかのようです。

とにかくそう感じました。

この美しいBarの中央に座れば

鹿山さんが魔法使いのように杖を振るかのごとくお客様を魅了し

BenFiddichでは常に

迅速な手さばき、フレッシュハーブ、スパイスを砕く音、美しいグラスに注がれ全てが調和されます。

BenFiddich

Kayama-San has an equally diligent team of young men and women who know the drinks and processes like the bank of their hand. While it may appear as though they don’t do much of the drink-making themselves, their involvement in the process is critical – much like the cogs that make the wheel turn, if you will.

BenFiddich is a quiet sanctuary tucked away in the heart of Toyko’s bustling Shinjuku district. Away from the neon lights, the blaring arcade music, the hordes of people flocking the streets, this feels like the sweet relief you never knew you needed.

Kayama-San was raised agrarian and farming has always been a way of life. He proudly grows his produce on a patch of land and employs the yield to make stunning drinks for unsuspecting guests. This farm to table approach has caught the attention of many. The back bar is a curious library of little jars that are home to a plethora of herbs and spices. It’s not every day that you sip leisurely on a drink crafted with homegrown vermouth or let your taste buds dance to the tune of home made absinthe. Kayama San’s choice of ingredients to throw into his mixing trough is by no means “normal”, so if you’re expecting a good old traditional mix of flavours in your glass, think again.

鹿山さんのBenFiddichには常に

鹿山さんをサポートするバーテンダーの男女が両脇にいます。

彼ら彼女らは鹿山さんが用意してほしいものを何でも知っています。

全てがチームワークとして

一つのカクテルを作り上げているので

歯車を回転するかのようです。

BenFiddichは東京の中でも大歓楽街に位置する新宿にあります。

明るいネオン、鳴り響くアーケードミュージック

しかしそこから少し外れたその喧騒を忘れさせる静かな場所に

ひっそりとあります。

鹿山さんは農家の出身です。

彼は自然と共に育ちました。

鹿山さんは誇りを持って農産物を育てている。

それはBenFiddichに使うカクテルの素材。様々なハーブ、木々の皮、葉。

いわゆる草根木皮

『farm to glass』を実践している。

この実践が彼を注目の的へと誘いました。

BenFiddichのバックバーには

ハーブ、スパイスを詰めた小瓶

様々な素材を抽出させた薬酒瓶、

歴史を紐解く古い文献の古書が並ぶ。

そこから織りなす彼のカクテルは

必ず歴史との整合性があるだろう

The curious library of herbs & spices

Kayama-San has travelled the world extensively and has a penchant for flavours and ingredients unheard of. His travels have taken him to countries he looks to for inspiration, with India topping that list for its rich history, spices, culture, Buddhism, and shared roots with Japan. When asked where he would like to open another bar if he could, India was the obvious choice.

A family man, Kayama-San wants to leave behind a legacy, to be inherited by his three children who apparently aspire to be bartenders as well. He plans to work behind the bar for the rest of his life and has absolutely no retirement plans.

鹿山さんさんは世界中を旅してきました。これまでにないフレーバーと材料になり得るものに興味を示し

今も探し続けています。

例えば彼にとってインドはその豊かな歴史、スパイス文化、そして仏教のルーツとしての日本との共通性

彼はインドに憧れを持っています。

もし海外にBenFiddichを出すならば

彼は間違いなくインドと答えるだろう。

鹿山さんは3人の子供を持っています。

鹿山さんの子供達の夢はバーテンダーになること。

これが本当ならば

BenFiddichはさらに次の世代へも

受け継がれていくだろう。

Kayama-San

There is a peculiar eccentricity that trickles through that strainer – one that is equal parts modest and flamboyant. The intent isn’t to shock or impress but simply to push boundaries and go beyond the tried and tested. It is always an absolute pleasure to be able to sit at one of the world’s most highly ranked bars and have the bartender make you a drink that knocks off the pretension and keeps the heart and soul. There is nothing ostentatious about this experience but there is great theatre, and I have to admit it is compelling and spellbinding.

BenFiddich is a mecca for the curious mind and palate. Go there with an open mind because if you’re looking for familiarity and comfort, you’ve got another thing coming.©

Follow Kayama-San and BenFiddich on Instagram.

世界のBarランキングにランクインしているカウンターに座り、体験することは大きな喜びと経験になります。

それは自分の中の境界を押し広げ、

自身の実証済みの体験を凌駕する。

BenFiddichは人々の好奇心をもてなす

メッカです。

心を開いて訪れてみましょう

InstagramでKayama-SanとBenFiddichをフォローしてください。

Write in to editor@thedramattic.com

Have something to say? Write in to editor@thedramattic.com

Follow The Dram Attic on Instagram.

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