Thursday, September 25, 2014

Whisky Live 2014 Report

Post by Aaron Chan, Hong Kong
Yet another great year! If you missed this year’s Tokyo International Bar Show / Whisky Live, you will have to wait another year… probably. Not to worry, though: here is a short overview of some of the highlights of the weekend.

The Whisky Live weekend actually started on Friday night, when 40 lucky members of Bond #1 were invited to a pre-opening tasting at the Park Hotel. Whisky Live director Damian Riley-Smith had brought a very special bottle with him, The Michael Jackson Special Blend. This bottle was a vatting of over 2,000 opened bottles found at the late whisky author's private collection after his passing. Drinking this was like drinking the history of whisky itself.
Although there were no commemorative Japanese bottlings this year (as there were in the past years), there were a few outstanding special festival bottlings from our friends at BenRiach, Glenglassaugh, Isle of Arran, Cadenhead’s and Samaroli. The “’S Peaty” from Samaroli is a vatting of Islay drams distilled in 1995. Contrary to its name, it is not all that peaty, but very smooth, well balanced and elegant. This – as well as the other bottlings – are already available from Japanese retailers so do grab a bottle before it’s too late.
Another must-visit spot every year at Whisky Live is Ichiro Akuto’s Venture Whisky.  This year, Akuto san unveiled a new Chibidaru 2014. He also had an interesting experimental Chichibu matured in a sherry butt available for free tasting at the event. The 2014 Chibidaru is from the 2010 vintage and spent its entire life in so-called chibidaru (the distillery’s original quarter cask). There was no information as to when it would be released officially but when we have any further information, you’ll be the first to know.
Our friends from Nine Leaves were also at the show to promote their “Clear” rum-spirit released earlier this year and “Angel’s Half”, their 6-month old rum. There were two versions of “Angel’s Half” – one matured in a cognac cask, the other in American oak – both very promising.
Aside from these wonderful drams, punters could also try some more exotic (and expensive) drams by purchasing tasting vouchers. It’s a pity they didn’t offer the White Bowmore, like last year, but there was still plenty to titillate the taste buds – among others, a 1968 Glenglassaugh, a 1974 Bunnahabhain 1974 (aka “Infinity”) by Samaroli, a Glenfarclas Family Cask 1976, a 1973 Glen Grant, Talisker 30 Years Old, and so on. We missed Dave Broom – who couldn’t be at this year’s edition due to commitments in Europe – but all in all, it was a great weekend.

1 comment:

Powerlifter said...

I particularly liked the Ichiro's Malt Chibidaru, which I was told would be released in "the autumn." I recommend all lovers of Japanese whisky to sample it.