Awards & Events

Bigger in Japan

Tokyo was host ot Whisky Live Japan 2001-and Marcin Miller was there to report on the festivities
By Marcin Miller
Following the success and the positive feedback regarding last year’s event, the scope of Whisky Live Tokyo 2001 was far broader: it boasted an opening seminar tasting of five whiskies, a closing seminar tasting of five whiskies, 12 Masterclasses in between and a massive 29 exhibitors in the open tasting room, as well as a Bass beer stand for those in need of a palate cleanser made this, by some way, the biggest consumer whisky event in the Far East.Over 700 visitors to the event had the opportunity to spend some quality time with the dream team of panellists, hand-picked by Whisky Magazine: Jim Cryle
Master Distiller at The Glenlivet
Robert Hicks
Master Blender for Ballantine’s
Jim McEwan
Master Distiller at Bruichladdich
Euan Mitchell
Sales Manager for J & A Mitchell
Brian Morrison
Vice Chairman of Morrison Bowmore Distillers
Richard Paterson
Master Blender for Whyte & Mackay
Jimmy Russell
Master Distiller Emeritus at Wild Turkey
Andrew Symington
Managing Director of Signatory Vintage Malt Whisky
Jens Tholstrup
Global Brand Ambassador Glenfiddich
Stuart Thomson
Distillery Manager at ArdbegAll of the panellists introduced one of their whiskies at the opening or closing seminars, which was used as an opportunity by some to launch products new to the Japanese market.We often say that these Masterclasses are an opportunity to enjoy a unique insight into whisky and to experience expressions otherwise unavailable: so it was with Brian Morrison’s Masterclass entitled The Family Silver, where a couple of bottles of the Bowmore Bicentenary Commemorative bottling and of Black Bowmore were opened. The mere announcement to the group that they were to taste the legendary Black caused cheering and general hysteria. The Masterclasses for Ardbeg and Springbank sold out within hours of the telephone lines opening. Jim McEwan’s Bruichladdich Masterclass featured traditional Ileach toasts with the assembled company standing on tables while sinking their drams. Jimmy Russell enjoyed himself so much he told me he is planning to come back next year and to bring his son Eddie with him.One of the coups of the event was organising a Masterclass featuring the whiskies of both Suntory (in the form of Hakashu Distillery Manager Mike Miyamoto) and Nikka (represented by Junichi Sugimoto, former Head of Production), the greatest rivals and competitors in the Japanese whisky distilling industry. The Masterclass tested the diplomatic skills of Michael Jackson and Tsuchiya Mamoru, Japan’s finest whisky writer, but ultimately provided a high-point of the event.Congratulations to Whisk-e for staging the event and to Diamond Hall for the seamless organisation. Thanks to all our panellists, exhibitors, sponsors and visitors. See you all next year!