Monday, September 29, 2014

Bar Week At Parkside - Dram Club

Dram Club presenters 
Yesterday afternoon, 28th September 2014, I attended the Bar Week At Psrkside Dram Club special tasting. As I am yet to attend a regular Dram Club sitting (this post is not one about one of those), I will keep this short-ish. Sydney Bar week has started. With many events registered to be taking part in the annual Sydney phenomenon, this tasting I attended was one of them.

So what is Dram Club? Currently hosted at the Bat and Ball Hotel in Surry Hills and founded by Yvette Myhill and Scott Fitzsimons, Dram Club is a chilled out, relaxed, highly informal method of tasting and chatting about whisky. As Scott says “I want to run these (tastings) the way I would like whisky tastings to be”. I have to say add me to the list as this is also how I always wanted them to be too. What always makes a good whisky tasting to me is being able to have a drink and a bite prior, take in the tasting to its fullest, then not be shuffled out the door as it locks behind you but instead continue on and kick back with another beer or dram as you see fit talking' the whisky talk with new found mates.

Accompanied by Jonathan from the Whiskyledger.com (was he the wingman or was I…?) we caught a pub lunch and a dram of Heartwood Malt Whisky before heading out back to settle in for proceedings. Having meet the charming Scott earlier at lunch we were then greeted at the door by the lovely Yvette to check us in, while an ice cold Suntory Hakushu Highball was to magically appear in my hand. From that point on is was all whisky.

Hakushu Highballs, The Macallan, The Glenlivet
Rather than just Yvette and Scott presenting the tastings (as they usually do from my understanding), through the afternoon brand ambassadors of the respective whiskies on show were invited along instead. Moving form table to table in 15 min intervals (the new whisky speed dating) the ambassadors guided, nosed, and tasted with us while inviting discussion about the whisky represented at that moment. Not all whiskies were to everyones liking but that is what these tastings are all about. On tasting we experienced 1 + 5 + 1 whisky products: Suntory Hakushu Distillers Edition Highball (Jonathan and I had been just having extended discussions about this over lunch); Auchentoshan Three Wood; The Glenlivet Nadurra 16yo; Starward (standard release) + Starward Red Wine barrel trial blend; Macallan 12yo Fine Oak; Blackadder Raw Cask Smoking Islay (freaking unreal).

Auchentoshan, Starward, Blackadder
To say the least it was an awesome experience and something I had been looking forward to for sometime. Location was a hike for myself but for many living closer to the city you have to do this at least once. I will certainly be returning to find out more about the regular Dram Club tastings. If you want to check it out yourself find them either on their facebook page or www.dramclub.com.au.

Cheers Yvette and Scott it was great to meet you (though I know we have crossed paths many times prior). See you soon.

The Baron

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Reaching 50 Years - The Glenlivet & The Winchester Collection

The Winchester collection. Official image from The Glenlivet website.
The Glenlivet release The Winchester Collection, claiming the title of the first collection of 50yo whiskies. Collection would assume many to come considering they have only released one expression so far, Vintage 1964, of 100 bottles. At that limited release that is going to fetch a pretty penny in anyones books. The official line from The Glenlivet website is as follows:
The inaugural release, Vintage 1964, was created from an American Hogshead oak cask laid down to mature by Captain Bill Smith-Grant, the last distilling descendant of The Glenlivet’s founder, George Smith, on the 24th of April 1964. It was soon after singled out as a cask of exceptional promise and has been tended to under the watchful eye of no fewer than seven Master Distillers and is the result of their unrivalled knowledge, unwavering care and unfaltering craft.
Very little else is currently available on what is to come but I am sure we will be hearing more about it soon enough. Don't expect a sample anytime soon as 100 bottles is not going to go very far at all. The Glenlivet do make great whiskies and occasionally some failures but just the shear fact they have reached a 50yo is something special indeed.

50yo whiskies are still in there infancy as no one really planned (when you talk with distillers) on ageing whisky that long back in the early 60's. A few years ago when I was talking with David Stuart and Sam Simons from The Balvenie at the Celebrating David Stuart's 50 Years event, and then again  last year with Sam was out in Aus, it was clear that getting a whisky to 50 years was a near impossible task. Prime factors of over oaking, wood rot, and evaporation all work against ageing whisky that long. Looking to now and back to the 80's wood selection has become increasingly important in order to aim at ageing whiskies longer while amplifying flavours. My personal view is that in the next 15 years to 20 years a 50yo whisky will be much more common and at much more respectable prices while 70yo whiskies start to make more regular appearances.

To quote a comment by Sam Simons "In time it becomes increasing harder to drink a whisky that is older than you are". That being the case I have 10 years in order to try this as I am not seeing many 40yo whiskies coming my way.

The Baron

This is a non-sponsord announcement. For any further details please defer to The Glenlivet website.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Christmas at cask strength - Christmas Big Peat

50ml of Christmas Big Peat that is one hell of a whisky
It as been a week of big whiskies for me so it is not surprising I am writing again about another cask strength whisky. You all know about the vatted malt from Douglas Laign, Big Peat whisky? I hope so. Well once a year the vatting masters deliver the Christmas Big Peat 2014 cask strength bottling. Yet to be released into Australia I was fortunate enough to be sent a 50ml sample (after some comments online about why we were not getting it) by the lads at Douglas Laign to try. If you want to know more about the standard release of Big Peat check my other post on the subject: Genie In A Bottle - Big Peat.

Christmas Big Peat is the same whisky as its standard release's cousin just at a smacking cask strength punch. The vatting as usual features 4 great Islay single malts in one bottle: Ardbeg; Bowmore; Coal Ila; Port Ellen.

Christmas Big Peat 2014
Blender: Douglas Laign & Co Ltd
Location / Region: Islay, Scotland
Alcohol /ABV: 55.7%
Other: Blended (Vatted) Malt

Colour: blonde wheat and I swear it is even lighter in colour than the standard release I currently have.

Nose: Amplified phenolic oils and salts as it almost sticks to the nose.  Seaweed with ashy peat smoke all in the forefront laced with rich creamy toffees lingering in the shallows. For a cask strength there is no burn in the nose at all. After the first sip sandal wood and oiled leather appear.

Taste: Lip puckering as a spicy prickle immediately takes hold. Oily and tongue coating but at the same time delivering an earthy tannin dryness of carbons or coals in the checks to upper palate. Creamy vanillas are still present from the nose but the spice sticks hard and on a second sip the creamy sweet notes are more emphasised. It is a very feisty dram indeed.

Finish: Smouldering coals delivering a long warming sensation to the chest. Spice prickle does perpetuate on the lips as does the dryness that slowly envelopes the entire mouth cavity.

Overall: The nose is super excitable and I could go on nosing all night long. A real highlight. There is a strange balance between the sweetness and phenols but the spice is very high. The eventual tannin dryness that builds makes for a higher that normal salivation that just emphasises the ash content over and over. The high spice may put some off as it is no where near as present in the standard Big Peat release but then that is why you buy something like this anyway.

Official packaging of Christmas Big Peat from 2013
If I was to give a dram it would be a solid 6 out of 7. A good bit of fun and only being able to get it once a year makes it a trip worth taking. To add some texture and quench that salivation, I found myself drawn to cutting some sharp vintage cheddar cheese (one with a good amount of crunchy tyrosine is recommended) which went exceptionally well with the whisky. As I drammed and dreamed my imagination settled on thinking about an old style whalers oilskin jacket lashed with salts and barnacles chopped up by galing sea spray.

So if your in the market for a purchase just look out for the label. The packaging is significantly different from the regular release that you are not going to make any mistake what you are buying. Keep an eye out for a white label sporting the byline ‘A Real Cracker’ with the Big Peat character taking a salty phenolic smack across the chops. You won’t be disappointed if you a Big Peat freak like myself.but be prepared for an even bigger hit than usual.

Thank you Douglas Laing and Big Peat for you sample. It was very much appreciated though it won't hold me over until hopefully a release into Australia in 2015.

The Baron

D.T.W.C. was supplied a sample for review. All views and opinions are our own unless otherwise stated. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Going Supernova - Sampling the Ardbeg Supernova

The Ardbeg Supernova mini
An unexpected treat arrived in the post on Friday. A sealed black bag sporting the Ardbeg logo. Interesting to say the least it did not take me long to break it open and glance inside. Nestled in the confines of this back space was a wooden box with again presenting the Ardbeg logo grooved and burnt into the the lid. Releasing the ties I unsealed the contents to discover a 50ml mini bottle of Ardbeg Supernova 2014 committee release. Wow this was very unexpected. Ardbeg is a big player in the D.T.W.C. and it would have been rude of me not to be sharing this very limited dram with probably the biggest Ardbeg fan of the club, El Capitan. A quick call later and things were sorted for a following evenings tasting.

The sequence of discovering the contents
Ardbeg Supernova is the distilleries peatiest whisky and is released as a NAS (No Age Statement). Being the peatiest whisky the exact PPM (Phenol count in Parts Per Million) of this bottling is not really known (as far as I have been told) but the Ardbeg site claims it to be ‘more than 100ppm’. That is pretty darn high in comparison to the 30ppm to 50ppm averages of other Ardbeg’s and other well know Islay whiskies.

This release, which is only available to committee members, is commemerating the return of the Ardbeg’s space experiment. Space experiment you ask? Simply create 2 files of Ardbeg then send one into space while the other is stored on terra firma. After several years in space equalling 15675 rotations of the earth, return the vial of spaced Ardbeg and see what effects zero gravity has on the whisky and maturation process. No this release does not contain any of the whisky sent into space but it does have a very spacey name.

Before reviewing though (here it comes), we cannot be discussing Ardbeg Supernova without touching on the Bruichladdich Octomore. In mentioning Octomore I wanted to make a very clear point. So many continue to perpetuate this rival fantasy of Octomore vs Supernova but truly Octomore is its own beast to be reckoned with. Octomore outstrips Supernova in PPM by so much that they are not even in the same classification. The only true relationship they both have is that they are both the peatiest whiskies produced by those distilleries. So push the rivalry aside and you will find virtues in Ardbeg Supernova that Octomore falls short on and vice versa. There is one direct comparison I will make but this will come later.

Ardbeg Supernova 2014 committee release
Distiller: Ardbeg
Region / location: Islay, Scotland
Alcohol / ABV: 55%
PPM: 100+

Colour: Light straw with a noticeable golden hue lacking in the Ardbeg 10yo.

Nose: Super sweet barley and honey with elements of fennel and sweet light peat smoke. The nose is becomes more excitable the longer thou let it stand in the glass. Almost an earthy herbal fragrance, briny, and smokey all st the same time.

Taste: At first the cushioning sweetness expected from the nose is severely pushed aside for a gritty ashy mouthfeel compounded by a metallic banding towards the back of the palate. On a second sip the ash subsides substantially to make way for more sweet barley and fragrant vanillas but you have to push through the first sip to start to really take in what Ardbeg Supernova is offering. Some medicinal brine also makes headway that was found on the nose. It is young but not too young it seems with wood complexity here and there and tell tale signs of classic Ardbeginess. Curiously the wood fired dryness reminds me very much of a older style Lagavullin 16yo. If you had not read the bel prior it would be a surprise to realise this is cask strength even with the long legs sticking to the glass as it just does not assault the palate with zany true alcohol burn.

Finish: Long and warming with the metallic banding and dryness remaining. Long after a sip though the malt sweetness perpetuates making you yearn for another dram.

Overall: A good dram and you know it is an Ardbeg. Yes it smells, tastes and finishes like an Ardbeg should and I am appreciative of this fact. The ashy dryness is in the forefront and overtakes most of the experience but the malt sweetness does perpetuate through and is not completely eclipsed. Balance sways towards assertive side. Makes a great cold wet weather dram especially when feeding a wood fired oven.

If I was to give a dram then it would be a 5.5 out of 7 for the Ardbeg Supernova. The lower score is all relating to price. It is the most devastating thing really. At $240AU this is out of the reach of even most Ardbeg Committee members. Limited release or not (here is the comparison) when you can buy a bottle of Octomore for $160AU sometimes you have to weigh up just why your buying the bottling in the first place. If your looking for a titanic peat experience then go for the Octomore, but if your looking for a chapter of Ardbeg history then buy the Supernova and for god sake drink it and not store it in a dusty cabinet. If it was priced better say around the $160AU mark I would be scoring well higher.

For those wanting to purchase the Ardbeg Supernova be sure to sign up as an Ardbeg Committee Member first and then make a trip over to the Moet Hennessy site where you will find it available as part of the Moet Hennessy Collection.

Torching the bottle while baking an apple pie.
Lastly for those not aware there is a roaring trade globally for whisky minis. So much so that if these traders get wind of a limited bottle offers to purchase soon roll in. Then to consider when a limited release comes out such as this one the real dollars start to to be quoted. I was offered £400 for this one mini. WOW!  So drink it and sell the bottle yo may say? The trade of these used mini bottles is almost as crazy and ones like these are easily forged by simply recapping. A unique code was stuck to the bottles in order to track who got these but what is to say one is not stolen or salvaged from a bin? For me I won’t trade these bottles, full or used, as I am supplied them to make a serious tasting. To continue to influencing this black trade by selling even the used bottle dishonours the whole reason for be asked to review so destruction of the bottle is somewhat required. Only days before Oliver Kilmek at Dramming.com, the lads at Cask Strength, and Gal at Whisky Israel all made a point of bottle destruction. How could I not be doing the same considering I was praising their actions? El Capitan and I decided to fire up the pizza oven and literally melt the bottle in the crucible. A suitable end to Ardbeg's peatiest whisky. Here is the official torching:


Enjoy this release while you can as bottles are strictly limited.

The Baron

D.T.W.C. was supplied a sample for review. All views and opinions are our own unless otherwise stated. 


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Fashion & Whisky - Chivas Meets Palazzo Versace

Chivas meets Palazzo Versace
"All things happen in Sydney" some say when it comes to products and launches for whisky in Australia. I am happy to say for our north of the border members and guests that the Palazzo Versace fashion-branded hotel on the Gold Coast will be hosting exclusive Chivas Regal Tasting Dinner. With the Milan fashion week starting today it is timely that we should be finding out about this now.

This exclusive event aims to deliver a four course set tasting dinner. Through the evening guests will be tasting the: Chivas 12yo; Chivas 18yo; Chivas 25yo; Chivas Extra (just released this month nation-wide). Event host, Pernod Ricard brand ambasador and all round nice guy, Ben Davidson will be taking guests on a sensory Chivas Regal experience. Having been guest to many an evening swayed by Ben's crooner tone complimented by his extensive knowledge of all things spirited I can say you will be contented head to toe by the end of the night.

Bookings are essential and places are strictly limited. This event booking can be made directly at the Palazzo Versace website.

Date: Monday 20th October 2014
Price: $99 per person a four course dinner with Chivas Regal
Time: From 6.00pm
Venue: Vie Bar + Restaurant, Palazzo Versace

So for any club members or guests wanting a taste of the new Chivas Regal Extra and want something more this may be the perfect night for it. I know if I was living in Brisbane or the Gold Coast I would be on this in a heart beat.

The Baron

Information quoted in this post has been provided to us as an official media release by Palazzo Versace.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Short Of The Mark - The Glenlivet Exotic Limited Edition

The Glenlivet Guardians Chapter Limited Edition
Last year saw the world wide tasting of the Glenlivet Guardians Chapter Limited Edition whiskies with a official world launch here in Sydney, Australia. Effectively The Glenlivet created 3 new expressions and invited members of the Guardians Chapter and public to vote on which one would make the final release. These expressions were titled: Classic; Revival; Exotic. There could be only one. Fellow club member The Alchemist and myself were invited to attend the first public tasting of a selection of whiskies. Our experiences on the night were not fantastic as the food was poorly matched (though delicious in its own right) and the tasting was held after our pallets were tainted considerably by the meal. Find out more about that experience on the post: And here's the rub – The Glenlivet Guardians Chapter Launch. Let's not dwell on that experience anymore than we have to.

The winner chosen via crowd-sourced votes was to be The Exotic. A richly coloured whisky that saw maturation in hogsheads, american oak and Spanish ex-sherry butts If you would like to purchase this limited release it can now be found at your local Vintage Cellars at a price of $99 AU though its original RRP was $114.99 AU. The bottle won't be hard to miss on the shelves as it sports a distinctive baby blue packaged with supporting cork seal and badging. It is noted that The Glenlivet Master Distiller, Alan Winchester, developed these expressions as a way of challenging consumers to 'provoke debate' over which whisky should make its market as an official release.

Recently our club was supplied a sample bottle of the chosen release to once again try in isolation so it made an appearance at the most recent D.T.W.C. tasting night. Unfortunately little interest was to be drawn from the bottle after tasting confirming my own suspicions relating to its success.

Before delivering my own notes a personal disclaimer is appropriate. I love The Glenlivet and all expressions I have encountered from the distillery. The Glenlivet 12yo is a staple in my whisky shelf while at any other time a genuine appreciation of all releases by the distillery is solid. That is until now. I did not vote for this release finding it spicy and over sherried. I have lived in hope against all odds it was my palate that had let me down on the night. I was wrong.

The Glenlivet Exotic
The Glenlivet Guardians Chapter Exotic Limited Edition
Distiller: The Glenlivet
Location / Region: Speyside, Scotland
Alcohol / ABV: 48.7%

Nose: Burnt honey, boiled  lollies, apricots, rasins, heaped oranges and wood spice. A good deal of heat effects the nose but it holds a lot of depth.

Taste: Soft and cushioning at first before a raging fire of hot and spicy citrus braces the tongue and upper pallet leaving little for the tastes buds to work on. I really fail to pull any flavour out of what was on the nose except a sting orange peal zestiness.

Finish: Long and dry becoming metallic and coppery. Bitterness then builds on the tastes buds while a heat is fuelled in the gut.

Honestly I don't get it. I really don't get how this was chosen by so many to be released. It is a polar opposite to what I have always found The Glenlivet to be. Crowd sourcing has some fundamentally clear failures which can all be defined in this release. Luckily this is a limited edition and won’t see a lot of shelf play. I really hoped I could have secured some samples of the other two whiskies that were tasted inline with this. My choice on the night was the Revival. I felt The Revival was much more inline with The Glenlivet. It sported a young, feisty vibrancy but still one could say "Yes that is The Glenlivet". I won’t be surprised to find The Revival being reserved for a limited release under a different guise at some stage in the near future.

For me when I want to grab a bottle of Glenlivet this will fall at the bottom of my list. The Glenlivet make some absolute cracker whiskies. They have a place. They have a profile. The have a proven history. Unfortunately this whisky fell terrible short of the mark. If I was to give a dram then it would be 3.5 out of 7. I think this whisky is flawed primarily due to concept marketing. In my opinion let us leave these release decisions up to the Master Distiller's as that is what they are there for.

The Baron

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Here It Comes - Chivas Regal Extra

Chivas Regal Extra
I know some of you members are happy Chivas Regal appreciators. I for one will take a bottle of Chives Regal 12yo, 18yo or 25yo any day. Now for the first time in 10 years Chivas Regal will be release a new expression titled: Chivas Regal Extra.

Chivas self classifies as a Premium Blended Whisky so it will be no surprise this new release is seen by Chivas Regal as “one of the richest, most generous offerings this category has presented”. Yes sherry casks are making an appearance if you have not already suspected by the burgundy packaging.

With little more to go on the official line on the Chivas Regal Extra is as quoted:
For the discerning gentleman looking for more, Chivas Regal Extra offers you the reassurance any new Chivas Regal brings - the signature richness and warmth of Chivas Regal, with additional layers of subtle spice. Fruity and sweet on the nose, its enchanting aroma of ripe pears and melon, creamy toffee and milk chocolate, balanced with cinnamon and a hint of ginger is crafted to truly excite the senses. The resulting taste is an alluring combination of sweet ripe pears in syrup and vanilla caramel, well balanced with the subtle warmth of cinnamon sweets and almonds in the background.
Chivas Regal Extra the complete package
When will we see it in Australia? Well as we are a country near the beginning of the international date line the pay off is we once again will host an official product launch world wide in September 2014.  As part of the pre-launch industry and consumers alike can sample the new Chivas Regal Extra at participating bars. Order any Chivas Regal straight or mixed, then ensure your ask “for something extra” and receive a complimentary sample of Chivas Regal Extra. This pre-launch offer is available as of today 4th Sep 2014. The Participating bars are:

NSW – Palmer & Co, Grain, The Barbershop, Eau de Vie, Coal & Cedar (Newcastle), The Roadhouse (Byron Bay)
VIC – Eau de Vie, Cookie, The Toff in Town, Whisky & Alement
QLD – Cobbler Bar, Gresham, The Bowery
SA – The Botanic, Collin’s Bar
WA – Bar Lafayette, The Classroom
ACT – Molly’s

With a RRP of $73 this price tag is going to demand careful scrutiny to ensure it is living up to expectations. We will see the product widely available on shelves from the 22nd of September 2014. I am personally looking forward to what this expression as to offer.

The Baron

Information quoted in this post has been provided to us as an official media release by Cav Con on behalf of  Chivas Regal.

Monday, September 1, 2014

SMWS event - An Evening With Jim McEwan

Jim McEwan - image courtesy of Bruichladdich website

A quick note that the famed Jim McEwan of Bruichladdich will be out in Australia through mid Sep into October. If your into Bruichladdich and want to meet the maker check out the Scotch Malt Whisky Society event: An Evening With Jim McEwan.

Open to the public and society members tickets can be purchased at the SMWS website. Tickets are priced at: Society Members - $60; Guests - $95.

SMWS of course is a nation wide society so events will be held at the following locations:
Sydney -  Wed 1ST Oct - 7.00PM Royal Automobile Club, 89 Macquarie Street, Sydney

Brisbane - Fri 3RD Oct - 7.00PM The Brisbane Club, 241 Adelaide Street, Brisbane

Melbourne - Tue 7th Oct - 7.00PM RACV, 501 Bourke Street, Melbourne

Bruichladdich whiskies have made many appearances at our club meetings so for me I am all over this. Maybe see you there?

The Baron

This is a non-sponsord promotion. For any further details please defer to the SMWS website.

Friday, August 29, 2014

It is that time again - Laphroaig Live 2014

Laphroaig Live 2014 Stockholm
Yes it is that time of year again where Laphroaig Live happens somewhere in this world. For some members including myself we were lucky enough to attend the Sydney Live event back in 2011. It was fantastic to say the least. If you want to know more read about our experiences attending the event held in Sydney: Colour me Laphroaig – Laphroaig Live Sydney 2011.

In short, for those that don't know, Laphroaig Live is a live broadcast event put on by Laphroaig for all to enjoy. Initially created as a binding agent for the FOL (Friends Of Laphroaig) it is now recognised as one of the big dates in the world whisky calendar. Laphroaig Distillery Manager John Campbell heads up a select panel of guests to discuss, nose, and taste various Laphroaig whiskies new and old. Hosted in front of a live audience and backed up by a live webcast, Laphroaig fans can chime in to ask questions during the tastings sessions and or taste along with the panel (if your lucky enough to have those bottling's on hand) for a full experience (that is if your not lucky enough to be one of the chosen few audience).

This years live broadcast event will be held in Stockholm, Sweden at 8.00PM on the 24th September. Why Stockholm? According to official press material Laphroaig is no.1 selling single malt in Sweden. Not a bad warp at all. To be hosted at the Rökeriet restaurant (I have no idea about this place mind you) a paring of 4 Laphroaig whiskies are to go with a smörgåsbord of smoked Elk, Reindeer, Baltic Salmon - all smoked over Laphroaig infused wood. Nice!

The current line up of whiskies tasted by the panel is: Laphroaig Select (just released this year); Laphroaig Cairdeas 2014 (the yearly bottling for FOL); Laphroaig 12yo Special; and either the Laphroaig 18yo (replacement for the legendary 15yo) or Laphroaig 10yo depending on votes prior to the night. My vote is on the 18yo for sure.

If your not a FOL and don't get the emails then keep and eye on the Laphroaig Live page for webcast details. We here at D.T.W.C. will endeavour to keep fellow members and visitors informed but the best method is always to become a FOL member and watch your emails.

Laphroaig Live Stockholm bring it on.

The Baron

This is a non-sponsord promotion. For any further details please defer to the Laphroaig Live website.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Art of Giving - Suntory Whisky and Akira Isogawa

Akira Isogawa and his furoshiki creation
Suntory Whisky is making inroads into Australia in a big way and I am personally ever so grateful Japanese whisky is easily now so accessible. The reality is though Japanese whisky and Suntory have always been there and have for a log long time always made great whisky. Unfortunately it is just not something we could get out hands easily. If you have not explored Japanese whisky yet then get your head out of the sand and do so as I don’t think you will be disappointed. It is just a pity genuine Japanese beer has not seen the same expansion. That is ‘real’ Japanese beer brewed in Japan and not that other stuff brewed under licence.

Earlier this year The Proxy and myself were invited to share in the launch of Suntory Whisky on a national scale here in Australia. Launched at NSW Art Gallery it was a night not to be missed and wrote about that experience in: Bringing The Swagger Back - Suntory Launches into Australia. On that evening I was nearly in heaven. Nearly because if I got any closer I would have been dead. The whisky was great, the people were cool, and the food was excellent. As part of the night we had an exciting tasting experience, led by Mike Miyamoto, Suntory Global Brand Ambassador. Laid out before us during the tasting was a fine selection of Suntory whiskies while standing and dramming directly across from me was the dapper fashion designer Akira Isogawa. Unfortunately with the height of the table and the noise of excitement in the room it was pretty much impossible to have a few words. Curse you Time For Whisky for choosing the spot nest to him!

The placement of Akira Isogawa is not completely obscure to the point and no I am not name dropping for the sake of it. The House Of Suntory now continues to celebrate its position in Australia hosting a collaboration with no other than Akira Isogawa. This collaboration has seen Akira fashion a very limited edition luxury furoshiki bottle wrap just for Suntory Whisky. Furoshiki is a traditional Japanese linen wrapping very often used when giving wine, whisky, or sake bottles and or other personal gifts throughout modern Japan. Originally used for wrapping and transporting personal items the use of the furoshiki for gift giving goes back countless generations. This particular limited edition Akira Suntory furoshiki will be available mid August 2014 leading into Father’s Day with a  further availability coming into Christmas. This limited edition furoshiki wrap will be available as a gift with a purchase of either the: Yamazaki 12 years old; Hakushu 12 years old; or Hibiki 17 years old. Only available through listed retailers and with only 300 available these truly are limited. It will not cost you anything extra for the furoshiki as part of the bottle purchase but I would inset you hasten your ambitions in grabbing one.


Akira is noted as drawing upon his own upbringing as inspiration while paying homage to the importance that water plays in the creation of Suntory whisky by creating a unique scarf that signifies the passage of water in nature.

“I remember my father drinking Suntory Whisky when I was growing up in Osaka. My partnership with Suntory Whisky goes beyond fashion; it is celebrating a part of Japanese culture.”
If you are of course keen to grab one for yourself or as a gift here is the current list of the exclusive retailers Australia wide:

New South Wales: Oak BarrelWorld of Whisky.

Queensland: Cru Bar + Cellar.

Victoria: Nick’s Wine MerchantsThe Wigs Cellar;  Sea Breeze Cellars.

South Australia: Fassina Liquor MerchantsParafield Airport Liquor Store.

So if your anything like me the first thing you going to do is unwrap the bottle, even if it is for a gift, and then wonder how to put it back together again. Rest assured we won't leave you in the lurch and have you rewrap the furoshiki  like a Mr Gumby handkerchief from Monty Python. This is the need to know on how to wrap the Suntory Whisky limited edition furoshiki:

Step 1.

Step 1. Spread the furoshiki in a diamond shape and lay the bottle slightly above the centre. Fold the furoshiki from corner a and then from corner b to cover the bottle.
Step 2.

Step 2. Hold the right and left ends of the furoshiki (corners c and d) in your hands, and pull them to the front side.
Step 3.

3. Wrap the bottle by crossing the two ends held in your hands and bringing them to the back side.
Step 4.
4. Make a knot at the position of your choice.

I for one don’t want to miss out so the hunt is already on. Good luck in your quest and wear your furoshiki with pride.

The Baron

Information quoted in this post has been provided to us as an official media release by ICON International Communications on behalf of Suntory Whisky. This is a non-sponsord promotion. For any further details please defer to the Suntory Australia website.