Post & Photos by Stefan Van Eycken, Tokyo
Whisky Live Tokyo, which will be held in September this year). Reading reviews of festivals is a bit like listening to other people’s holiday stories, so we’ll keep things brief and focus on the Japanese whiskies at the show.
We spoke at length to the guys from Mars – for an in-depth update, check the forthcoming edition of the Malt Whisky Yearbook – and tried to find out if, among other things, they would be releasing a new single cask from their old stock (pre-1991) that is. While they couldn’t confirm anything officially, it did seem likely that they would be bottling a cask for a big Japanese retailer later this year. Watch this space!
Rich Blend’ of two years ago). This one is called ‘Deep Blend’, bottled at a higher abv (45%) and with a smokier, more full-bodied profile. A good product, it was somewhat overshadowed by rumours (not unfounded) that Nikka is not only increasing prices for its products across the board (some by as much as 40%) but is also planning to pull out of the single malt market (only retaining their NAS products in that category) for a while. The focus will be on blends, their Taketsuru blended malt and NAS products until such time as their stocks are capable of meeting demand for age-statement products (incl. single malts) again – which may take a year or five. Again, we’ll dig further into this in a forthcoming post.
Suntory, you ask? The only Japanese product they had brought was their NAS Hibiki (‘Japanese Harmony’) – ‘nuff said…
All in all, there wasn’t as much whisky available at the festival as many had hoped, but we’ve got more festivals on the calendar this year, so hopefully that will be rectified in the fall. The cocktail and bartending side of the festival was great fun and there was certainly plenty to keep yourself happy on that front. Maybe, with so many good whisky festivals in the capital already, this is the direction TIBS should be taken in!