Friday, January 30, 2009

Kilts, cummerbunds and kimonos at Whisky Live


Congratulations to the organisers of the Whisky Festival for a really great occasion. We now roll on to the biggest of all Japan`s whisky conclaves, Whisky Magazine Live! 2009.

This year`s event is a must for any Japanese whisky enthusiast within striking distance of Tokyo`s Big Sight (how to get there?) on February 22. There are more Japanese whisky focused master classes than ever before.

I should apologise to readers for not getting this up before the Yoichi and Chichibu talks sold out, but there are still tickets for Suntory`s Yamazaki and Hakushu master classes at the time of writing (Update: only a few seats left in the Yamazaki). Suntory is Japan`s biggest distiller but it is also one of its most innovative. I would recommend those sessions without reservation. If last year is a guide, however, you will need to understand Japanese if you want to do more than just sample Suntory`s excellent drinks.

Of course, there are also loads of fascinating non-Japanese whisky classes, some of which will be in English. One of the great things about Whisky Live is that it is largely bilingual. In line with this, their website is in both English and Japanese. This page explains in English how to buy tickets and master class passes.

Ulf Buxrud [1,2] will be signing copies of his new book Japanese Whisky - Facts, Figures and Taste at the Whisky Magazine Shop in the foyer. If you want to expand your knowledge of Japanese whisky just go and pick Ulf`s mind for a few minutes. I know I will be.

There is also a signing by master blender Richard Paterson of his book "Goodness Nose". Nonjatta has mentioned before that Paterson is a manga superhero in his spare time. Millions of people know of him only through this comic book alter ego. I have never met a manga character in real life before!

Event organiser David Croll says: "I guess also of interest to lovers of Japanese whisky would be the announcement of the heat winners of the 2009 World Whiskies Awards. As you remember, Yoichi 1987 and Hibiki 30 year old won the global awards in their categories last year.

"There will also be some interesting news about Whisky Magazine Japan, to be announced by editor-in-chief Dave Broom, and a Live! debate about the relative merits of official and independent Bottlers."

Finally, by way of justification of my clumsily alliterative headline, the organisers were so taken with the couture on show at last year’s Whisky Live (looks better in the high quality version) that they have decided to offer prizes to the best turned out drammers. Dust of the kilts, cummerbunds and kimonos and dress to impress!

The logo displayed at the top of the article is from the Whisky Live website. Superb design this year, don`t you think?

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