For those of you who are lucky enough to currently reside in either Osaka or Kobe, a rarity is going on. Until June 19, father’s day in Japan, the Hanshin department store in Umeda is providing one of the biggest tasting sessions I have seen to date. I’m not talking a messily 3 or 4 bottles, I’m talking at least 50 malts on offer for you to nose, sample, compare and evaluate. To celebrate the contribution that fathers and father figures make for their children, Hanshin have gone all out and provided the ultimate gift option to its shoppers. A massive selection, I estimate at least 100 different expressions, of single malt whisky, including a very impressive range of Japanese malts, are available. Usually department stores are quite bland in their selection of whisky, in the case of Hanshin, I have never seen a better spread put together in my decade of living here. Whether a gift or for personal consumption, now is the time to buy. You can get anything from a 3 year-old Kilchoman Islay to a $230 bottle of Ichiro’s 8 of clubs, from the well-known card series. I must admit, being a department store, in some instances the prices did exceed normal outlets such as KOROSUE, but on the other hand the selection is unbeatable.
I should confess my greediness; I appreciatively indulged in at least 12 expressions (very small tipples) during my visit last night. These included mostly Japanese expressions from Nikka and Ichiro’s Malt, followed by some mouthwatering Islay whiskies such as the aforementioned 3 year-old Kilchoman (divine). Besides one or two malts from Ichiro’s bottlings, the stand out for me was the Yoichi 12 year-old. I know in a previous post I mentioned that I preferred the Miyagikyo to the Yoichi, but this was the NAS expression, the 12 year-old is completely in another field. The Hanshin department store is easily accessible from any one of the major train or subway stations in Umeda. The tasting session is on the ground floor amongst the delicatessens.