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Issue 54 - A world all of its own

Whisky Magazine Issue 54
March 2006

 

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A world all of its own

Whisky Live Tokyo has just taken place.Dave Broom tries to make sense of it all

Day 1: Being allowed into Japan isn't like gaining entry to the United States where you get the notion that there's an orange jump suit in your size under the immigration officer's desk. A quick change at the hotel as I've to go straight to Inter FM's studio. The phone rings.

“Ready?”

“Sure am.”

“Wearing your kilt?”

“Er... no...”

“Oh...” Along silence.

“It's radio,” I venture. “Does it matter what I wear?” Maybe it does. After all, this is Japan. Radio is now probably being streamed into everyone's eyeballs.

The interview is good. Six drams drunk live. DJ Guy is so enthused that he forgets to ask his sidekick for the Japanese translation. It is she who has insisted on the kilt since she's intrigued by the underwear question. I demur and flash her my sporran cup.

That evening is a West Coast dinner with competition winners and MJ, Frank McHardy, Pete Currie, Gordon Mitchell and Richard Pato-san. The wood is polished, the carpets thick, the air respectful. Then the social lubricant starts its insidious work. Longrow 14 year old is voted best on show. Pato-san baptises the carpet, MJ steals Frank's speech. Tell everyone I've sworn off sake this year. As a thank you I'm given a two litre bottle... of sake. Bed.

Day 2: It's early. Yamada-san and I bullet train south west, destination Gotemba distillery.

Fuji hangs above us. Gotemba's approach to heavy and light, grains and malts is unexpected.

“We make real Japanese whisky,” says blend...

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