Japanese Whisky Tasting: “Kanpai! (乾杯!)”

The whiskey tasting for November 2018 is dedicated to Japanese whisky! We’ve been around the world on our previous whisk(e)y* tastings, but only once previously have we tasted the delicious, mostly-Scotch-like whiskies of Japan–and everyone was extremely impressed. Japanese whisky has become so popular that there is a potential worldwide shortage looming while production ramps up (barrel-aging takes many years)–come learn why the demand is so high!


We also have two special treats for this next whiskey tasting event:

  1. It will be hosted by the worldly Thomas Giamboi and the amazing Rochelle Rae in their lovely penthouse unit at 360 Condominiums (making it forever impossible for me to host again, except for maybe ripple tasting…)
  2. The expert Philipp Detscher, with a long and varied resume in the industry and currently serving as the spirits curator at Austin Wine Merchant, will give us a short lesson on Japanese whisky

So come join us to learn a little, taste a lot (whiskey list below), and enjoy a wonderful evening with great people. It’s open to all our friends, but you must RSVP for this (via the comments section below) to help us plan and to ensure the concierge lets you in!

When & Where

Time & Date: 8PM on Saturday, November 10, 2018
Location: 360 Condominiums, at the home in the sky of Thomas Giamboi & Rochelle Rae

Some Details

  • As always, several different whiskies will be provided that cover a range of taste profiles for comparison.
  • As always, if you wish to bring a bottle to expand our comparison set and share with others, please do (not required!)–but if you do then you must take it home with you to enjoy on your own later!
  • Japanese whiskies provided by the hosts are posted below, along with whiskies being shared by guests as we learn about them.
  • You do not have to love Japanese whisky (yet) to join us and have fun–just be willing to taste and learn a little. We’ll provide some wine and beer, but feel free to bring your favorite beer/wine if you’re not into whisky.
  • There will be some snacks including some sushi rolls, but you should eat a full dinner first if you’re serious about tasting and learning.
  • Street parking is available in the neighborhood. However, we recommend Lyft/Uber/RideAustin so you can really focus on the tasting. Nobody drives home intoxicated.
  • The concierge will let you into the building and up to Thomas and Rochelle’s home on the 43rd floor.


We hope to see you on November 10, and we ask that you RSVP by commenting below (with # attending) so that we can plan appropriately. If you decide to bring a Japanese whisky, please also share it in the comments below so other people know what not to bring.

Japanese Whisky list (so far)

  1. Akashi 5 year old sherry cask: Josh & Rhonda Gordon
  2. Fukano 2017 release: Christopher Calicott
  3. Hakushu 12 years: Jay Boisseau
  4. Hibiki Harmony: Colin Eddy
  5. Ichiro’s Malt & Grain Whisky: Scott & Makenna
  6. Iwai Trasition Mars Whisky: Thomas & Rochelle Giamboi
  7. Kaiyo cask strength: Jim Feddeler
  8. Komagatake 2012: Steve White
  9. Mars Lucky Cat “Mint” blended: Karl & Rebecca Popham
  10. Nikka Coffey Grain: Brad and Melissa
  11. Nikka Pure Malt: John & Sherry Harrison
  12. Nikka Single Malt Yoichi: Jay Boisseau
  13. Suntory: Liza Willmore
  14. Togouchi: Kylie Baxley

I will keep updating this list as more are announced. (Remember: all whisky bottles must be taken home to continue enjoying after the event!)

*whisk(e)y is generally spelled without the ‘e’ by the Scots, while the Irish and most others usually include the ‘e.’ The Japanese admired and copied the Scotch style (and bought some of the Scotch distilleries!), so often use the Scottish spelling (no ‘e’). There is no strict rule on the spelling, unlike the making!

45 thoughts on “Japanese Whisky Tasting: “Kanpai! (乾杯!)”

  1. Whiskey Update: Fukano 2017 release — apparently a Whiskey Advocate top 20 whiskey of the world for 2017. We’ll see about that…

  2. Would love to come! Christina Newbrough invited me last night, hope it’s not too late. Btl: Komagatake 2012 #1453

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