Tokyobling's Blog

Denki Bran – Classic Brandy

Posted in Places, Shops, Stuff by tokyobling on June 10, 2013

When Japan opened up to the Western world in the end of the 1860’s, it didn’t take long for western things, customs and manners to be adopted by the Japanese. One such thing was the concept of a bar. The first western style drinking bar opened up in Asakusa in 1880 and it is still there, Kamiya Bar, with three floors, a restaurant and even an outside bar, right on the street corner near the famous Kaminarimon gate. A lot of the hip young creatives would go to drink there until the war and the bar has featured in many novels and even movies. To tourists it is mostly known for the unique brand of brandy, the Denki Bran, a mix of all sorts of liquor creating quite a special taste. At 30 or 40% (there are two varieties) it can be difficult to drink straight but its also popular in different long drink and even cocktails. Even though it absolutely unique, a true Tokyo and Asakusa souvenir and quite nice, it is really dirt cheap. I can’t remember how much I paid for this bottle but it is almost criminally cheap! Absolutely the souvenir to take home if you have friends that are into unusual liquor.

Kamiya bar is easy to find. Just stand in front of the Kaminarimon, facing it. Turn about right, and walk along the road until you have the bar on your left, about 100m.

The name is a combination of the word for electricity and the word for brandy. In 1882 when the drink was invented electricity was the cool new thing and almost all major brands that started in this period of Japanese modernization had the word electric or electricity somewhere in their names.

And for no real reason I also post a cherry blossom photo!

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7 Responses

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  1. Hangaku Gozen said, on June 10, 2013 at 4:51 am

    So is it good? I’m not a brandy drinker, and the strongest liquor I’ve drunk straight is single malt scotch. Suntory Whisky is so different from American and UK whiskies, I have a hard time describing it to people who’ve never had it. (It’s smoother, but there’s the characteristic “burn” at the end.)

    Sakura season passed a long time ago on the West Coast of the US, sad to say. Ours bloomed in March and were gone by mid-April. 😦

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    • tokyobling said, on June 10, 2013 at 12:26 pm

      I am not a big brand drinker myself, but I like it for the “fruity aroma”. Some people say it tastes a bit like mixing all the left overs from whiskey, rum, brandy and liqueurs into one! (^-^) I love Japanese whiskey these days, I know scottish whiskey lovers will hate me for this but… (I actually think Japanese good whiskeys are better!) (^-^;)

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  2. yoshizen said, on June 11, 2013 at 5:59 am

    I strangely remember the name, “Denki Bran” —– though I don’t remember where it came from.
    Not directly from product itself, = I even didn’t know it was a drink, still, was that from
    a conversation of the people when I was a small boy ?
    I remember “Aka-dama Port Wine” and “Ramune” drink (I think, it was meant to be a Lemonade) 😀
    Those things are the strange and dubious copy of the western products and they exists
    until 50 years or so ago.

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    • tokyobling said, on June 12, 2013 at 3:34 pm

      赤玉ポートワイン!Thank you for reminding me! I have been meaning to buy a couple of bottles for ages, I have always wondered what they tasted like. Not nearly as vintage as Denkibran, but still famous, not least for their “nude” ad-ladies back in the days… Ah… how I would have loved to share a bottle of akadama with Tanizaki Junichiro on the Ginza in the roaring 20’s!

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  3. Stacy said, on September 8, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    My husband brought a bottle home from Kamiya Bar. The Denki Bran is gone now and I can not find any where that will import it for us. If you know how to get it shipped I would be grateful!

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  4. Andrew Izeluk said, on March 8, 2017 at 3:39 pm

    Does anyone know how i would get in contact with the team responsible for Denki Bran? I want to bring this brand into the U.S. with our distributor partners and get them going in Chicago, Vegas, Florida and NY.

    aizeluk@breakthrubev.com is where i can be reached!

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