With Japan finally opening its borders to regular international travel from October 11, today let’s take a quick look at two upcoming events here in Tokyo and what to expect. Make your plans now!
TWSC Megatasting: October 23
If you’ve been reading this site for a while, you’ve probably heard me talk quite a lot about the Tokyo Whisky & Spirits Competition. It’s Japan’s only spirits competition, and one of the largest in Asia, including whisky, gin, and other spirits, including of course Japan’s native spirit, shochu.
That said. One of the issues with spirits competitions like TWSC is how they can be somewhat “disconnected” from the reality of the casual spirits fan. Maybe you read about some super limited-edition bottle winning “Best Blended Whisky of 2021,” and you’re like, whatever. The chances that I have a chance to drink that whisky are slim to none. Even your favorite bars won’t stock it, and you sure as shit can’t buy a bottle for any reasonable price.
Well! Looking to bridge this gap, TWSC is holding the first ever “megatasting” event here in Tokyo on October 23, 2022, at EBiS303 in Ebisu. Take your pick from around 550 bottles of liquor:
- 300 bottles from the TWSC2022 Western Spirits Division winners
- 150 bottles from the TWSC2022 Shochu Divison winners
- 50 bottles from previous TWSC Western Spirits Division winners
- 50 bottles from previous TWSC Shochu Division winners
That’s 550 award-winning bottles selected by Japan’s leading bartenders, distillers, distributors, and other industry folk. This event won’t disappoint even the most discerning drinker.
If that sounds up your alley, you can choose between the noon session (11:30AM – 2:30PM) and evening session (3:30PM – 6:30PM), where tickets cost 4400 yen each. That 4400 yen includes entry, 1000 yen worth of paid tasting tickets, a 500ml water bottle emblazoned with the “Japanese Fes 2020” logo, and a neckstrap for your whisky glass. Tickets are available now via the JWRC homepage.
Japanese Fes 2022 in Tokyo: December 17-18
What? Didn’t we already have a big whisky festival in Tokyo this year?
Why yes, of course we did. But who said we can’t have another?
Japanese Fes 2022 in Tokyo will be a different kind of festival though. While that one we had back in March was a whisky festival–in name, at least–Japanese Fes 2022 in Tokyo is celebrating all Japanese spirits. That means Japanese whisky, Japanese rum, Japanese gin, Japanese liqueur, other Japanese spirits, and certainly shochu itself.
We’ve been to Japanese whisky festivals, we’ve been to Japanese gin festivals, and we’ve been to shochu festivals. But Japanese Fes 2022 combines them all into one. If that’s not a winning combination, nothing is. Frankly, when I’m at whisky festivals, I sometimes find myself just wanting a crisp G&T.
The festival bottlings for this one have already been announced, and they’re pretty varied:
- Togouchi 2019, 3 year, 700ml cask strength (Japanese whisky)
- Chichibu 2014, 7 year, 700ml cask strength (Japanese whisky)
- Tsunuki 2017, 4 year, 700ml cask strength (Japanese whisky)
- Osuzu Gin original recipe, 200ml (Japanese gin)
- Benisango original blend, 720ml, 40% abv (Shochu)
- Jougo original blend, 720ml, 25% abv (Shochu)
The festival will again be held at BelleSalle in Takadanobaba. Entry for any given session is 4400 yen.
There will be four sessions: (1) 10AM-2PM on the 17th, (2) 3PM-7PM on the 17th, (3) 9:30AM-1:30PM on the 18th, and (4) 2:30PM-6:30PM. Importantly, this time around, you can choose one session each day.
Tickets for the general public go on sale on October 4, 2022 at 12PM, and will be sold here for the 17th, and here for the 18th. Yes, you’ll have to buy them in advance: there won’t be any same-day tickets sold.
Even compared to the festival earlier this year, there are lots of new names on the booth list. Kamui Whisky, TL Pearce, Hachioji Gin, Neo Blue, Fuji Hokuroku, Ethical Spirits, and more. Sounds like a great way to spend a pre-holiday weekend.
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!