Tuesday, February 19, 2013

SMWS Japan: 20th Anniversary Special Event & Release

Post by Stefan of Tokyo Whisky Hub.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society's Japan chapter and to kick off the celebrations, the SMWS-J is hosting an event at The Cellar Bar of the Rihga Royal Hotel in Osaka on March 17th (14:00-16:00). There will be various other events throughout the country, but the first one had to be in Osaka, because that's where it all began. In 1993, Watanabe-san of Tenma Shoten set up the first overseas branch of the Society there - a bold move at a time when single cask, cask strength bottlings were a lot rarer than they are now. The people at Whisk-e took over the running of the branch from 2001, but they continued to work with Watanabe-san for many years thereafter.
David Croll, head of the SMWS-J, explains: "We were introduced to the then Society Managing Director Richard Gordon and Chairman Willie Phillips during a trip they made to Japan in 2000. Richard was very keen to have the Society bottle Japanese whiskies and encouraged us to enter into discussions with Japanese distillers. The first bottlings - 4 single casks from the Yoichi distillery - emerged in 2002 and since then, the Society has also bottled whiskies from Hakushu, Miyagikyo and Yamazaki."

In the course of this 20th anniversary year, a series of special bottlings released from casks selected and with labels designed for Japan exclusively will be unveiled at various events. The first is, appropriately, from the Glenfarclas distillery, the first distillery Pip Hills and his friends - founders of the Society - sourced a cask from 30-odd years ago. Release 1.167 - "Delicate and venerable", a 25yo - will be available for tasting at the Osaka event, along with the 12 bottles that will make up the March and April offerings. The event is open to non-members as well, so if you're not familiar with the Society yet, go and have a look. You won't regret it. For more information, check this link. Nonjatta will be covering the celebrations in detail and we'll have tasting notes for the special bottlings as soon as they're unveiled. Watch this space.

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