Thursday, October 27, 2011

Whisky Festival 2011 - Minato Ku

The long awaited decision has finally come to a conclusion. The fifth whisky festival, which will be held in Hotel Nikko, Tokyo has been put together once again for the fans. On November 20, Asahi, who is in charge of Nikka’s distribution and PR, will introduce various Nikka and Scotch expressions for all to enjoy. Samplings of new and rare whiskies can be had in the various booths on offer. The event will kick off at 11:00am and will finish up at 6:00pm. Advanced tickets are 3,500 yen and tickets on the day are 4,500 yen. For further information about admission tickets click here.

Hotel Nikko 1F Orion
1-9-1, Daiba, Minato-ku,



Image obtained from the Scotch Whisky Research Centre

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Cask of Yamazaki 1993 - Heavily Peated Malt

Distilled: May/1993 - Bottled: Oct/2007 - Wood type: White oak - Cask type: Puncheon - Cellar: Ohmi aging cellar - Cask number: 3Q70042 - Bottling No. 311/574 - ABV: 62%

Nose: Saute mushrooms with a splash of worcestershire sauce, mowed grass, oak, smoke from incense sticks. Nothing overly medicinal, but strong peat and earthy. Overused (faint) vanilla pot-puri.

Taste: Oak, HP sauce, incense smoke. Unfortunately I could not pick up anything else distinguishable, as this was my fourth malt in.

Finish: Reasonably long, semi-complex with a heavy linger of spice and subtle peat.

Comment: This bottle was opened, consumed, and reviewed  after having a few drams, which included For The Taster. I will tuck into this gem first thing next time and see what differences occur. Water was not added this time around, but I believe a bit of water may add wonders. Currently Rakuten has sold out of this expression and it appears to be quite challenging to come across, well worth the perseverance though.

Reviewed by Clint A

Friday, October 21, 2011

Ichiro's Malt Final Vintage of Hanyu - For the Taster 48%

Distilled: 2000 - Bottled: 2010 - Age: 10 year-old - Cask types: sherry, hogshead, and puncheon 

Nose: Sherry, musk, marmalade jam, herbs, molasses, orange liqueur, new upholstery.

Taste: Sherry, spice, cloves, and slightly raisiny.

Finish: Rich, semi-complex, with a linger of spice and treacle.

Comment: Certainly much more pleasurable this time around than the first time, which was at the Hanshin tasting session. I tried the tinniest of portions from a small plastic shot cup. On this occasion I had one or two whiskies before getting amongst The Taster, next time I will start with it straight of the bat and see what happens. Maybe a change will occur? Either way it was quite pleasing.

Review by Clint A

Monday, October 17, 2011

Arita-Yaki Nikka Bottling

On a recent and pleasurable trip to the blue skies and fresh air of Tottori prefecture, I struck gold. Gold not as in the yellow precious metal but something that is equally precious. A bottle of Nikka’s Super blended whisky. The nectar in this bottle maybe considered average by some, but the bottle itself is somewhat beyond typical. The commemorative decanter is fine Imari porcelain, a renowned name for porcelain ware made in the town of Arita, northwestern Kyushu. The porcelain ware produced in the town is nationally known better as Arita-yaki (有田焼). The fine pearly white bottle, which is beautifully illustrated with vibrant blossoms, was handmade for Nikka. This remarkable whisky bottle that reputedly sat on a shelf for almost 30 years or more is still sealed and full. The labels, which state the whisky being bottled in Minatoku, Tokyo have taken a bit of a battering but nevertheless remain intact. I’m not going to pretend I have vast knowledge about this commemorative bottling; the simple truth is I don’t. I have used resources to try and find out further details but have not come up with anything than what I have written. Whiskies R Us invites any comments or feedback.

Alcohol percentage: 43%
Volume: 700ml
Batch: 08J12

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Update January 2015: Most of if not all the whiskies pictured are no longer available at Pardon except Mars Amber and the Akashi blend, and in 2015 it is fair to say on a personal level this retail chain is now beatable in terms of selection and size. Still well worth a visit however.

Quite simply, up until now, nothing has come as close to Pardon in terms of size and selection, especially the selection of domestic whiskies. I’m even inclined to say that the Scotch range is possibly unbeatable. This may change one day, but until I come across something equally if not better, this massive but independent liquor retailer goes down as the best retailer of the year in west Japan. Now that may appear to be putting my neck on the line, but this can be backed up with not only their imaginative selection of whisky, but their impressive and biggest selection to date of independent sochu, sake, Japanese micro beer, and international wines in both stores. Besides the array of every imaginable alcoholic beverage under one roof, Pardon also cleverly stocks an impressive range of nibbles and gourmet snacks to accompany and cater for any drink. I could continue to write about Pardon, such as the pleasant smells one is engulfed in on entering the store, or the array of colourful sake barrels, and whisky props, but I will leave that for another time, as this place will be an ongoing entry, and possibly reviewed in detail in a future Kansai whisky directory that I have in plan.

Nishi Kobe Shop
16-2-2 chome,
Nishi-ku, Kobe
Tel: 078-978-5788

Nishiwaki Shop (Head office)
588-1 Shimotoda,
Nishiwaki, Hyogo prefecture
Tel: 0795-23-8010

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Ocean Lucky Gold

Yet another reasonably new, mass-produced Japanese whisky has graced the shelves of many a supermarket and liquor chain throughout Japan suitably for the highball market. The Fuji Gotemba distillery owned by Kirin officially added Ocean Lucky Gold whisky to its portfolio at the end of July. This whisky, which comes in the whopping 2.7 and 4-litre plastic bottle variety, has supposedly been matured with full flavour that will not give way to carbonated water when mixed for highballs. According to Kirin, Ocean Lucky Gold’s mouth feel is faintly spicy with cereals, and a nose of tender fruits, incense, and shortbread delivering a mellow-medium aftertaste. It would be nice if these monstrosities came in a much smaller bottling for us to sample out of curiosity without having to lug 4 litres of it home. Don’t think there is anything lucky about that.