Whisky Festivals

Mr. Japan Whisky Tours with Fukuyo-san of Suntory

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

In 2022, we can look forward to Whisky Harbour Kobe (Sunday 24th April) and Osaka Whisky History (Sunday 2nd October). Already in 2022, two festivals have taken place: Chichibu Whsiky Matsuri (online) and Tokyo Whisky Festival (in person in late March).

Having attended all the venues since 2016, our founder Cullen’s three favorite events are:

Nagoya Whisky Lovers (January)

Chichibu Whisky Matsuri (February)

Whisky Talk Fukuoka (June)

Other events have included Kurashiki Whisky Forum (March), Shizuoka Craft Beer & Whisky Festival (July), Hokkaido Whisky Fes (August) and Whisky & Beer Camp Nagawa in the Nagano countryside (August) but they are unlikely to be held in 2022.

Let’s have a flashback to a really fun event held before the pandemic did its worst: 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.

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 legend and Bar Kitchen owner, Oka-san, brought a superb selection of Card Series bottles, which were duly finished.

Independent distillers invariably have a strong presence, with Eigashima (Akashi), Nagahama, Kanosuke, Asaka, and Akkeshi all offering tantalizing whiskies. With the rise in new distilleries, it is also a treat to taste their new-born spirits as they approach the 3-year mark, at which time they can be called whisky. 

A fun wine-cask Akashi

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 excellent selections of old bottles.

Rare bourbon

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 at www.facebook.com/japanwhiskytours

Instagram: japan_whisky_tours

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