Sunday, January 23, 2011

2011 Whisky Live! Japan

Japan's biggest whisky festival is changing locations this year, hopping a few miles northwest from Odaiba's waterside charms to the high-rise glitz of Roppongi's Tokyo Midtown. It is also expanding from one day to two (Sat/Sun, February 19-20), but perhaps the biggest change for this year's event is that it is going to be the culmination of a much wider national effort to promote whisky across Japan, called "Whisky Week".

Organiser David Croll says: "We often get asked why we can’t hold Whisky Live in other cities. The simple answer is that, given the amount of time that goes into organizing it (I’ve already been to Midtown about a dozen times this year) and where we are located, anywhere else would be impossible logistically.

"However, we’re really keen to have whisky lovers from all over the country enjoy something of the Live event, and Whisky Week is an attempt to make that possible," Croll said.

The basic idea is that a bunch of local promotions by bars, hotels, restaurants, retailers and distillers around the country leading up to the Midtown event will "all join together to promote whisky simultaneously”. Whisky Week will run from February 14 to February 20.

"We’ve had a great response so far with malt bars, luxury hotels, Michelin-starred restaurants, distilleries, department stores and airport lounges all signing up. We’re hoping for over 100 venues by the time we reach Whisky Week," Croll said.

During the week, there will be a big static display in the Midtown's outdoor Canopy Square area, with a giant manga banner explaining the whisky-making process. The banner was designed by a Scottish writer in consultation with the Whisky expert Dave Broom.

The Chichibu Distillery is holding a special Whisky Week tour from 2pm Thursday February 17th, which is limited to 20 places and is already over half full. There we also be four single cask, Whisky Live branded bottlings from Chichibu's operator Venture Whisky, with casks selected in consultation with Ichiro Akuto.

"The highball has started the ball rolling and we want this year’s Midtown-based Live to help make more whisky fans," Croll said.

I am glad to say that Whisky Live's Japan's website now offers full English language content and booking help if necessary.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Hibiki 21-year-old

Update 9.3.2011: It won the 2011 World Whisky Awards prize for the best blended whisky in the world!

Review by Nonjatta contributor - Dramtastic:

Hibiki 21-year-old. 43 percent alcohol.
Nose: An extremely rich bouquet; Seville oranges, bananas, licorice, polished leather, bourbon barrel oak, vanilla, orange coffee.
Palate: Smooth and creamy to start; then a big dollop of sweet spices, nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla, licorice. More of the Seville oranges plus white plums, leather and sweet cigar leaf.
Finish: Long, with a fruity/dry combination dominated by the flavors on the palate.
General comment: A sophisticated blend. I highly recommend it.

Taketsuru 17-year-old

Review by Nonjatta contributor - Dramtastic:

Nikka Taketsuru 17-year-old. 43 percent alcohol.
Nose: Tinned peaches, dried apricots; wood stain, oak, licorice, lemon pepper, cream and a hint of lavender.
Palate: Malt, tinned peaches, lemon, sugared nuts and oak.
Finish: Medium length, bittersweet (lemon/tinned peaches) oak. Ends quite creamily.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Pairing of the Month

Entertaining read on Sip Smoke Savor pairing Suntory 18 with Chuao`s Rio Caribe bonbon and an Arturo Fuente Anejo cigar.