The Tokyo Whisky & Spirits Competition is back for 2022! The competition is now in its fourth year. How will COVID-19 impact the competition? What's new?
Well, for starters, you can read the official English press release! Because I translated it! I'll cover the main points in this post anyway.
For the time being, the plan is to conduct the first round of judging remotely. That is accomplished by sending selected judges a pack of numbered yet otherwise unlabeled mini bottles and asking them to go through their assigned flights on their own time.
After collating those results, a second round is tentatively scheduled at a venue in Tokyo in mid-March 2022. Not all of the 280+ judges from the first round are selected to participate in the second round.
As you may recall, TWSC 2021 originally planned to take this same hybrid judging approach. In the end, the Executive Committee decided to run the competition entirely remotely, with both first and second rounds of judging happening via sample shipment.
While both TWSC 2020 and 2021 used remote judging, one big difference for 2022 is the availability of the COVID-19 vaccine. Hopefully, pandemic conditions in Japan and Tokyo will have improved so that in-person judging can go forward.
To make it even easier to enter the competition, entrants need only send a single bottle to TWSC this year. We ask that you keep a backup just in case of breakage/spillage during transit. If you win big, the TWSC office may request the additional bottle for seminars and such.
Entry fees are now payable via credit card as well! No dealing with Japanese banks.
Here's another big one: feedback is provided to all entrants for all bottles entered, regardless of whether or not they win anything. Feedback here means comments from the judges themselves. What's more, those comments will be made available in English (translated by guess who).
Japanese Whisky Category = Actually Japanese Whiskies
Beginning with 2022's competition, TWSC formally requires that bottles entered into the Japanese whisky category comply with the newly implemented JSLMA standards for Japanese whisky.
Therefore, any bottle winning a medal in one of the competition's Japanese whisky categories is produced, aged, and bottled entirely in Japan.
TWSC is a pioneer in this space. Beginning with TWSC 2020, the competition introduced its authenticity requirements for bottles entered in the Japanese whisky category.
Besides the Japanese Whisky category, TWSC 2022 will feature two other types: Japanese New Make Spirits and World Blended Whisky.
How to enter
Suppose you're interested in entering the competition. In that case, you have until September 30 to get your entry form over to the TWSC office. You can find the necessary form on the official TWSC homepage here.
Hi there! I created and run nomunication.jp. I’ve lived in Tokyo since 2008, and I am a certified Shochu Kikisake-shi/Shochu Sommelier (焼酎唎酒師), Cocktail Professor (カクテル検定１級), and I hold Whisky Kentei Levels 3 and JW (ウイスキー検定３級・JW級). I also sit on the Executive Committees for the Tokyo Whisky & Spirits Competition and Japanese Whisky Day. Click here for more details about me and this site. Kampai!