Saturday, October 29, 2011

Whisky Festival

Haggis is served at the 2009 fest

The fifth Whisky Festival will be held at the Hotel Nikko Tokyo in Odaiba (1-9-1 Daiba, Minato-ku, Tokyo 135-8625) on Nov. 20., from 11 am to 6pm.

Of the two main Tokyo whisky gatherings, the Whisky Festival is the smaller and has more of the feel of a meeting of Japan's whisky world, rather than the international bash that is Whisky Live. Many of the Japanese makers--Suntory, Nikka, Kirin, Ichiro Akuto's Venture Whisky as well as Hombo Shuzo, who have just reopened Shinshu distillery--will have booths at the event beside an array of importers. As always with these events, there are free tastings and the chance to interact with some very well informed people

Two of the foremost of those experts, Hideo Yamaoka and Mamoru Tsuchiya, will be giving seminars. Yamaoka will discuss Islay malts (40 places, 5,000 yen; 11.30am-12.30pm), while Tsuchiya will review the past decade in the whisky world (80 seats, 4,000 yen now or 5,000 yen on the day; 1.30pm-2.45pm). There will also be a discussion of tasting by 4 prominent experts including Yamaoka and Tsuchiya (80 seats, 2,000 yen or 3,000 yen on the day; 4pm-5pm). The booking instructions are on this page. Remember that all these talks are going to be in Japanese.

General entry to the festival costs 3,500 yen (or 4,500 yen on the day) and can be obtained by returning this pamphlet.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The new Malt Whisky Yearbook is out

Any readers wanting to read a pithy but up-to-date and fairly comprehensive survey of the state of the Japanese whisky in 2011, might be interested in the new Malt Whisky Yearbook 2012, in which I wrote the Japanese whisky chapter. I got my copy the other day and haven't had a chance to look through it, but the contents look pretty succulent. Previous editions of this excellent guide have left a full stomach.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ichiro's Malt The First

Review by Nonjatta contributor - Dramtastic:

Ichiro's Malt The First. 61.8 per cent alcohol.
Nose: Lots of leafy notes to start. Bourbony. Cola, cigar leaf, some floral notes, bread dough, lemon, pork crackling, strawberry, butter menthols, fish sauce, mashed potatoes.
Palate: Neat, it's big on hot spices; vanilla, cola, tobacco and strawberry. With water, lots of barley sugar, more vanilla, sweet orange, ginger, honey and bubblegum.
Finish: Is long and malty with tobacco, mushrooms and sweet spices.
Chichibu is officially on the whisky map and how!

Ichiro's Malt & Grain

Review by Nonjatta contributor - Dramtastic:

Ichiro's Malt & Grain. 46 percent alcohol.
Nose: Peach fuzz, vanilla, lychen, barley, cauliflower and white sauce, lemon, woodstain, straw, banana.
Palate: Light and crisp, lemon squash, chestnuts, straw, barley, vanilla, banana and a little chilli. With water, it has toffee, tobacco and pineapple.
Finish: Shortish, smooth and easy going. Bittersweet. On toffee, lemon, tobacco, bran, banana and a hint of nutmeg.
General comment: The grain barely intrudes on this one. Maybe a little unchallenging for my taste, but well put together. Will likely evolve with time.