Friday 22 April 2016

This week in whisk(e)y #30 - World Whisky Day at Tokyo Bird, Exile Casks "The Trojan" and John Walker & Sons 2016 release

As you might know if you read this blog regularly, we get a fair few interesting press releases and news articles here at TimeforWhisky, and usually try to feature them with our own spin, experiences or comments. Sometimes though, they come thick and fast, and we just don't have time to do them all justice.

So we've decided to take a leaf out of some other excellent whisky blogs, and feature a "PR roundup" every now and then - basically a wrap-up of relevant press releases we've received in the previous week or so (including other interesting whisk(e)y news Steph, Hendy & or I think you might enjoy). So on with it then...

World Whisky Day at Tokyo Bird (Sydney)
As far as bars go, we love Tokyo Bird here, not just because we were mates with the team before it opened, but also because it's a genuinely cool, relaxed bar with a great vibe, an awesome selection of Japanese whisky, great yakitori, and well thought-out classes and events.

Following a sold-out night of whisky tasting on World Whisky Day in 2015, Tokyo Bird is extending the whisky celebrations for the entire week leading up to the big day, with whisky cocktails, tasting flights, and a Japanese whisky-matched dinner in collaboration with Melbourne’s Adam Liston, ex chef and owner of Northern Light Yakitori Bar.
“We’ve seen the explosion of interest in whisky first-hand here, especially Japanese whisky,” says Tokyo Bird owner and general manager Jason Ang. “Over the past 15 months that we’ve been open, connoisseurs and novices alike have enjoyed our 80+ varieties of Japanese whiskies – many of which are not available at other bars, even in Japan ­– while drinking us dry out of the likes of Yamazaki 12 and Hibiki 12 on several occasions!

“The enthusiasm for whisky is contagious. It’s great to see people introduce their partners and friends to whisky through their favourites on our menu, or through tasting flights or even whisky cocktails,” Jason adds. 

The bar will be running the following events for World Whisky Day (or perhaps that should be World Whisky "week"):

Available all week, Tokyo Bird bar manager Yoshi Onishi has concocted five whisky cocktails featuring a dram from each Japan, Scotland, Australia, Ireland and the US - to celebrate the world of whisky / whiskey / bourbon.
Available Monday 16 May - Saturday 21 May
Cocktails from $18 

Tokyo Bird is hosting an exclusive dinner in collaboration with Melbourne's Adam Liston (ex chef / owner of Northern Light Yakitori Bar). Indulge in five premium Japanese whiskies and five courses of modern Japanese cuisine in celebration of Japan's 'water of life'.
Tuesday 17 May; 6pm or 8.30pm sitting
$135 per person; bookings essential via
See whisky menu here (food menu to be announced late April)

From 1pm on World Whisky Day, choose from four whisky flights covering world or Japanese whiskies to taste your way through the glorious world of whiskies!
Saturday 21 May, from 1pm
Bookings available; email
Whisky flights from $38 (to be announced)

Exile Casks' First Release - "The Trojan"
Those who have been reading the whisky "blogosphere" for a while may be familiar with Joel Harrison & Neil Ridley - founders of who went on to become "whisky celebrities" through their writing, events, "A to Z" of whisky, blog and general fun attitude to the world of spirits. Since shuttering the caskstrength site, they've started up World's Best Spirits and recently launched their first whisky under the "Exile Casks" banner - a 25yo single cask Speysider at 57.1%, with a total outturn of 306 bottles (500mL).

Whilst the distillery of origin is unknown, the story is that the cask was found in a distillery other than the one in which it was distilled (hence the "Trojan" name). All you need to know though, is it's a 25 year old single cask Speysider, for £65, about which Dave Broom said:
"You’d be a fool not to buy it for quality and for price"
and Serge Valentin (of said:
"Excellently modern. Well done."
We're a little surprised that, given the excellent pricepoint and good reviews, there are still bottles available (we ordered ours on release day), but there you go. You get pick one up here (worldwide shipping is available). We'll have tasting notes up once ours arrives.

John Walker & Sons Private Collection - 2016 Edition
Another year, another exquisitely presented John Walker & Sons "Private Collection" - the 2016 edition this time. Following on from 2015's red-hued release, and 2014's blue release comes this honey-coloured release, again limited to 8,888 bottles.

Of course, it's the liquid that counts though, and this year's interestingly makes significant note of the grain whiskies within, even listing the distilleries. We're not sure if this is to become a trend with these releases, but we like it.

To quote the press release:
This is the most complex edition to date in its making, blended with whiskies drawn from over 100 casks due to the many subtle variations required in flavour styles and effects, and the precious little remaining after the lost ‘Angels’ Share’ from years of maturation.

The blenders had the luxury of selecting, one by one, rare casks of Single Grain Scotch Whisky, including from five Johnnie Walker distilleries (four now silent and therefore irreplaceable – Caledonian, Cambus, Carsebridge and Port Dundas). These were gathered into two styles - woody, vanilla fudge notes, and sweeter, estery, honey notes – and laid down in casks for several months of marrying to ensure seamless integration of flavours and smoothness in the final blend.

Grain whiskies, as well as having soft, delicate, honey, heady or estery characters expressive of each distillery and the cask in which each whisky has matured, are also vital in revealing the wealth of malt whisky flavours.

In the 2016 Edition, they are set exquisitely against unique casks of a Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky from Jim’s treasured experimental stock. Aged in American oak with specially chosen cask ends, the result is a wonderfully subtle distillery character. Mature and intense, yet restrained, it highlights the effects of the grain whiskies in the blend gloriously.

After marrying individually, the three components were blended to 43.0% ABV to reveal the myriad delicate aromas and flavours." 

The 2016 Private Collection release is available in Hong Kong (from selected retail stores) and in Australia (from Dan Murphy's), for $977AUD.

Thats all for this week. Until next time...


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