Entering the world of single malt Scotch whisky and its alternatives from other countries isn't an easy thing to do. It has taken me at least 4 years to finally take the plunge. I'll be documenting my whisky adventures and post some of my amateurish tasting notes.
On December 2nd 2012, I attended the Whisky Festival 2012 in Tokyo with my beer and whisky friends Tom and Steve. This event is organized by the Scotch Whisky Research Center. It was a chilly but nice and sunny day. I met up with my friends outside Kinshicho station before the festival opened at 11am. There were many interesting things to try and we wasted no time in doing that. Some of the companies that had booths on the day included MHD Japan, Pernod Ricard, Remy Cointreau Japan, Suntory, Nikka (Asahi), Berry Borther's and Rudd, and retailers Liquors Hasegawa and Shinanoya. We tried many of the whisky they had on offer at nearly all of the booths. I was particularly interested in trying out Shinanoya's bottling of Karuizawa 31 to commemorate the 5th anniversary of their Shinanoya Private Cask range. I was practically first in line when they started handing out samples at 12pm sharp. It was an excellent whisky which showcased its long maturation with a heavenly aroma and sublime flavor. I also got to try Shinanoya's special bottling of Ichiro's Malt Hanyu 12 which was also a treat. Of course we couldn't leave without sampling some Suntory Yamazaki 18 and a few card series from Ichiro's Malts.
Whisky enthusiasts everywhere!
Special Bottling for order at the Shinanoya booth.
Blackadder is an independent whisky bottler that is famous for its "Raw Cask" range. On November 29th 2012, Liquors Hasegawa held a Blackadder Friendship Day from 4pm to 9pm. Usually Liquors Hasegawa stops paid tasting service at 8pm but on this day they extended the time to 9pm. Blackadder Friendship day was a good time to meet one of the founders of Blackadder, Robin Tucek, to discuss all things whisky and also to promote his new bottling called Black Snake VAT No. 1 First Venom.
My fellow beer and whisky friends Tom, Bob and Chuck joined me in the early afternoon to meet with Robin and to have a few whisky tastings. After trying a few sherried and peated single malts we met up with Robin. He is very enthusiastic about whisky and was happy to talk about the industry and whisky.
He gave us samples of First Venom which is bottled at a whopping 59.1%. It is a solera style whisky which means that whisky is slowly taken out of the cask and then replaced with new whisky. This process is used extensively in such drinks as sherry, port and balsamic vinegar. I don't think it is widely used with whisky but there are some examples of it around such as Glenfiddich Solera Reserve 15 Years Old. First Venom was fresh, a little new but very drinkable. Robin explained to us that using the solrea method means that subsequent batches of Venom will be different from the last one.