Saturday 16 May 2015

"A World of Whiskies" Preview at Tokyo Bird

As part of World Whisky Day, officially set on Saturday, 16 May 2015, Time for Whisky was invited to preview the tasting flights at Tokyo Bird ahead of the exciting day on which the world can have a dram (or five) and celebrate the water of life. We previewed the tasting event a few days ago with all the details on how you can celebrate World Whisky Day (or in the case of Tokyo Bird, World Whisky Week) at their great little Japanese yakitori bar in Belmore Lane, Surry Hills.

The two tasting flights offered are either the singles tour; tasting of three drams or the world tour; a tasting of five drams. We opted to sample the balanced and focused singles tour - consisting of the following three whiskies:
  • Starward Wine Cask Edition 1
  • Hakushu 12 Year Old
  • Aberfeldy 21 Year Old
Tokyo Bird Bartender, Yoshi Onishi explained the selection of the three different whiskies and how they each pay homage to the different whisky regions; being Scotland (Highlands), Japan (Mt. Kaikomagatake) and Australia (Victoria) and allow one to appreciate the varying spectrum of whiskies across those regions.

The Starward Wine Cask dram tends to lend quite a sweet, aromatic and tannic note from the use of the ex-Shiraz wine cask with the Aberfeldy also offering a level of sweetness though allowing a more floral, fruity, vanilla, citrus note to rise from its use of a combination between ex-Sherry and ex-Bourbon casks. The Hakushu on the other hand, like most of its Japanese whisky brethren is refined, balanced and clean - there are light and grassy, sweet fruit notes with a hint of smoke on the palate.

Though, with the flight, what are the three whiskies like?

Starward Wine Cask Edition 1 (41% ABV, NAS, Victoria, Australia, $75AUD)
I would have this dram on joyful or festive occasions, perhaps Christmas? The berry, gummy bear nose and the sweet creamy palate can simply complement those occasions.

Colour: Dark copper

Nose: There are cherry, shiraz and sweet gummy bear which brings me back to my childhood

Palate: The palate is creamy, the sweet berry comes first then the palate develops into vanilla shortbread, tasty
Finish: A medium tannic finish with a nice coating of the palate that hints of gingerbread

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 90/100.

Hakushu 12 Year Old (43.5% ABV, 12yo, Mt. Kaikomagatake, Japan, $119.99AUD)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------A light, clean dram that you can have any time of the day, perhaps with your cereal or with your lunch.

Colour: White wine

Nose: The nose is light, it smells of summer grass and it is quite floral

Palate: The palate, like many Japanese whiskies is refined, clean and there are sweet fruits with a hint of soft smoke
Finish: The finish tapers slowly into a combination of sweet honey, vanilla and a hint of citrus

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 90/100.

Aberfeldy 21 Year Old (40% ABV, 21yo, Highlands, Scotland, $199AUD)
An innovative use of a different barley varietal, the "Marris Otter" winter barley gives way to a soft, refined and creamy expression.

Amber, gold

Nose: The nose is fresh, floral with hints of strawberry, citrus and apple
Palate: The palate is soft, smooth and light and the age has slightly represented itself through the creaminess on the. There are notes of almond shortbread and vanilla.
Finish: The finish is long and the mouth coating, vanilla notes lingers.

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 90/100.

The three dram whisky flight provides a nice, balanced tasting that does not push one to any extremities (though other expressions are also available behind the counter). The flight is certainly ,quite easily, palatable to many, especially for those who may want to simply appreciate a flight of delicate, clean whiskies - for the sake of celebrating such fantastic water of life. The five dram whisky flight expands the three drams offering by including, the well known (and loved) Buffalo Trace bourbon and also the light and supple Jameson Irish whiskey.

Both the three and five-taste whisky flights will be available from the official World Whisky Day – Saturday, 16 May – through to Wednesday, 20 May. Full background and tasting notes and matching yakitori options will also be provided. Bookings for World Whisky Day tasting flights from Saturday, 16 May to Wednesday, 20 May are available via

Happy World Whisky Day!

Hendy would like to thank Jason, Tina and Yoishi of Tokyo Bird for the invitation and their hospitality when previewing the three-dram World of Whiskies tasting flight.

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