Monday, April 30, 2012

Tokyo International BarShow and Whisky Live Tokyo 2012

The biggest event in Japanese whisky will be held at Tokyo Midtown on Saturday May 5 and Sunday May 6 (11.30-6.00 pm).

Tokyo Whisky Live has hooked up this year with the Tokyo International Bar Show and is being jointly promoted as Tokyo International BarShow/Whisky Live, but Japanese whisky fans can still look forward to plenty of unique tasting opportunities in the main hall and the must-drink special bottlings for the event. They actually have more exhibitors than last year, so the new partnership does not mean a dilution of Whisky Live.

I usually try to avoid excuses, but I must apologise again for being late with news because of my current family crisis (1). The masterclass tickets for the event close midnight Monday (today!!! sorry).

Exhibitors at the two-day event will include Suntory (makers of, among others, the Yamazaki, Hakushu, Hibiki brands), Nikka: (Yoichi, Miyagikyo, Taketsuru, Venture Whisky (Chichibu, Hanyu, and Ichiro's Malt) and, rather excitingly Honbo Shuzo (Mars). The masterclasses related directly to Japanese whisky include*

● Suntory: (MC4 Hakushu & Bowmore Distilleries, MC8 Hibiki Blended, MC16 Malt & Chocolates, MC20 Yamazaki & Hakushu)
● Nikka: (MC1 Taketsuru Pure Malt, MC13 Nikka- My Blend)
● Venture: (MC21 Chichibu Distillery)

Of course, all of those Japanese whisky masterclasses are going to be in Japanese (unlike many of the Scotch ones). If your Japanese is not up to it, my experience is that the main hall can be more than enough fun and give loads of opportunities for trying out exceptional Japanese and other whiskies. Just make sure you don`t overdo it.

Entry tickets are available through E+ until midnight Friday. Tickets bought on the day will cost 1,000 yen more than advance bookings, so JY6,000 for 1 day or 10,000 yen for both days. An English language booking service is available if people e-mail

David Croll, the event`s organizer said all five of the official BarShow Bottlings are Japanese whiskies this year: Two Karuizawas, one Chichibu, one Hanyu and one Yamazaki. Fuller details are available here but the labels below should tell most of the story. My mouth is watering:

They will be on sale at the event at the BarShow Shop and also available online through the Whisky Magazine shop immediately after the BarShow ends at 11:30 Japan time on Saturday May 5 when the Bar Show kicks off. They will be available on a first-come-first-served basis. The current entries for these whiskies say they are "sold out" but that actually just means they are not available until release, according to Yuji.

It will be possible to sample the 5 bottlings at the show using Premium Vouchers and 30 five bottle sets will be offered each day at a special price (that offer is not available online).

Somewhat mysteriously, David Croll added:”There will be a very special BarShow-only offering to promote the relaunch of the Whisky Magazine Japan website, and its “Bond#1” premium subscription service. More details will be available at the BarShow Shop.”

As part of the run up to the big event, Whisky Magazine Japan Editor-in-Chief Dave Broom will be conducting a closed seminar for 9 members of Bond#1 in Shinjuku`s Golden Gai district on Friday, May 4, 2-4pm. Bond#1 is the subscription-only area of the Whisky Magazine Japan site. The tasting is free-of-charge but is strictly reservation only. The whiskies will include a single cask of Karuizawa 1984!

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