Whisky Festivals

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Mr. Japan Whisky Tours with Fukuyo-san of Suntory

We have been taking our guests to whisky festivals in Japan since 2016.

Our three favorite events are:

Nagoya Whisky Lovers (the third Sunday of January)

Chichibu Whisky Matsuri (the third Sunday of February)

Whisky Talk Fukuoka (usually the third Sunday of June but cancelled in 2020).

Other events include Osaka Whisky Festival (first Sunday of June), Shizuoka Craft Beer & Whisky Festival (third or fourth weekend of July) and Tokyo Whisky Festival (third or fourth weekend of November).

The heavy hitters, Kirin, Nikka and Suntory (in alphabetical order) always have a strong presence. For example, at Nagoya Whisky Lovers in 2018, Suntory Chief Blender Shinji Fukuyo gave us tastes of the newly released Essence of Suntory inaugural bottles: Yamazaki 12-year Heavily Peated, Chita 16-year (the final four years in a red wine cask), and Hakushu 4-year Rye.

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Single cask whiskies from Karuizawa, Suntory and Nikka Yoichi 

The most crowded area is invariably around the Venture Whisky booth. The Ichiro’s Malt staff offer tastings of its Leaf Series, annual “big releases”, e.g. The Peated, IPA Cask and On The Way, along with straight-from-the-cask selections, including the likes of bourbon barrel, chibidaru, oloroso, madeira and blended malt & grain.

Additionally, independent stands offered a range of older Ichiro’s releases, both Hanyu and Chichibu. Fukuoka’s legendary bar owner Oka-san has been known to bring a few Card Series bottles all the way from his Bar Kitchen.

Independent distillers invariably have a strong presence, with Eigashima (Akashi), Nagahama, KanosukeAsaka, and Akkeshi all offering tantalizing spirits.

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What the whisky maniacs really love is wide selection of whisky bars that bring bottles from their collections. At any festival, what can you get? A single cask Yamazaki Mizunara 23-year old. Yep. Prohibition-era bourbons from the likes of Rossville and Dougherty’s? Yep.  More scotch than Oliver Reed could drink in a decade? Yep.

Bourbon fans are in for treat, when the likes of Gemor, Rogin, Milwaukees’s Club and Ken’s Bar bring stunning selections of old bottles.

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There are usually plenty of tasty food options, from burgers to chicken wings to miso oden, a real winner in Nagoya.

For information on upcoming events, contact us:

www.facebook.com/japanwhiskytours

Instagram: japan_whisky_tours

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