Saturday, October 31, 2009

Indy Karuizawa bottling

Japanese whisky fans Tapani Kuusela and Johan Hofvander have bottled their own Karuizawa 14-year-old single cask whisky (cask 5024) and expect the bottles to arrive in Sweden shortly. It was distilled back in 1995 and matured and aged in a wine cask. There are 114 bottles, each packing quite a punch at 66 per cent alcohol. I can't wait for the tasting notes, which Tapani has promised to send in. So jealous!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Nikka triumphs at International Spirits Challenge

Nikka whisky's Taketsuru 21 year old pure malt whisky won the overall trophy for the whisky category at the 2009 International Spirits Challenge in London on Wednesday. The Taketsuru 21 adds the honour to the "World's Best Blended Malt" prize it won at the 2009 World Whisky Awards in April.

The five gold medals earned by Japanese whiskies at the Challenge went to Hibiki 17 year old (blended whisky), Taketsuru 21 year old (pure malt whisky), Yoichi 15 year old (single malt) and Hakushu 18 year old (single malt), and, my current favourite, the Yamazaki 1984 single malt.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

New Malt Whisky Yearbook

My copy of the Malt Whisky Yearbook 2010 arrived yesterday. The section on Japanese whiskies has been revised slightly but is on pretty much the same basic template as last year's section, which still makes it perhaps the most reliable, succinct source of information about the subject in print.

If you own the 2009 version and are thinking about purchasing purely because of an interest in Japanese whisky, you may find yourself retreading some familiar material, but other sections of the yearbook have been completely rewritten and anybody with a broader interest in whisky will not regret the purchase. I was fascinated by Charles MacLean's article on the early Scottish whisky industry and Gavin D. Smith's contribution about innovations in whisky distilling. Ian Wisniewski's clear but detailed discussion of peating was, for me, worth the price of the book on its own.