Japan's first proper spirits competition, the Tokyo Whisky & Spirits Competition was held over two days: March 11-12, 2019. Let's run through some of the numbers:
- 3 tasting sessions split across 2 days
- 527 entries across 126 categories. 50% whisky, 20% gin, 30% other
- 32 tables, each with a max of 6 judges, totaling to 180 judges (and way too many big names to list here)
- 3 flights per judge, max of 20 spirits per judge, 88 total flights
- Up to 30 points for aroma, max 40 points for flavor, and max 30 points for finish/overall
Needless to say this was a massive undertaking. Congratulations to Japan's whisky godfather Tsuchiya-san, the organizing committee, the Japan Whisky Research Centre (who also organizes the Whisky Festival in Tokyo and many other events), and all of the staff for putting it together. Just for comparison purposes, the 2018 San Francisco World Spirits Competition--in its 19th year in 2019--had 2,469 entries. That the Tokyo Whisky & Spirits Competition team could pull this off (with no outside help!) in the competition's very first year is an amazing accomplishment.
With the actual tasting now out of the way, the next steps will require another herculean effort: tallying up all the scores!
The bronze, silver, and gold awards announcement is expected in early April.
This will be followed up with an announcement of trophies, special awards, and best-of awards in mid-May.
Awards Ceremony & Party
Session 1: Awards Ceremony (1-3PM, invite-only and not open to the public)
Session 2: Party (4-7PM, cost is 10,000 yen and includes tasting of 300+ bottles plus food)
Venue: Hotel Grand Palace
Tickets for the party go on sale at the end of March! Until then, enjoy the gallery!
Whiskey Richard is the founder of nomunication.jp, and has been saying he has lived in Japan for ten years for the past four years. He enjoys drinking basically anything except straight-up Campari.