Post by Stefan of Tokyo Whisky Hub.
This week is a pretty exciting week for whisky enthusiasts based in Tokyo or those living a little farther out but willing to make the trek.
On Wednesday, September 26th, the annual Modern Malt Market will be held. As always, this will be an afternoon-only event, so not everyone will be able to make it. This year, I'm lucky enough that it coincides with a day off from work so I'll let you know what you missed (sorry, that was cruel). The usual suspects will be there, and Springbank, BenRiach/GlenDronach, Duncan Taylor, Glenfiddich and Diageo are all sending brand ambassadors over, who will be giving seminars as well. On the Japanese whisky front, the major players will be represented (Suntory, Asahi/Nikka, Kirin) and Akuto-san of Ventury Whisky (Hanyu/Chichibu) will be there too - so this will be the first chance to taste the new Chichibu "The Peated" and - hopefully - some other treats as well. It's a great event, so if you've got an understanding boss - but, let's face it, who does? - or have what it takes to pull a sickie, you know you'll be smiling that day.
On Saturday evening (September 29th, from 7pm), Shinjuku's Golden Gai is the place to be. That's pronounced "guy", by the way, for those of you who just frowned their eyebrows reading this. Nicholas Coldicott and yours truly will be hosting a Japanese whisky night at Chotto Bar. The line-up is pretty stellar, if I do say so myself: there will be some whiskies from the Ocean era (i.e. the pre-Kirin Karuizawa era), a rare Rouge Cask Karuizawa, half a dozen "cards" (all different cask type finishes) and a few other older releases from the Ichiro's Malts series, some very old Suntory stuff, a Sendai 12 year old, a couple of Toyo whiskies, a rare private Eigashima bottling and - brace yourself - the Hakushu 25 year old (which Jim Murray rated 93/100 and called "a malt which is impossible not to be blown away by", and who are we to argue with Mr. Murray) - all of these at prices that you just won't find anywhere else on this planet, and if you think that's a bold statement to make, I challenge you to come and see for yourself. Did I mention there is no cover charge? Anyway, most whisky events in Tokyo (and elsewhere in the world, I imagine) are PR-driven - that is to say, they focus on promoting current and/or imminent releases. It's not very often that you get the chance to take your nose and palate on a little trip down memory lane, and while my involvement in this event calls for a certain measure of modesty, honesty compels me to say that the chances of seeing all the beauties listed above ever again in one place, available for everyone's taste buds and wallets, are ... well, quite frankly, nil.
So, there you have it... never a boring week in Tokyo as far as whisky's concerned.