WhiskyFair TAKAO Debrief – Day Two

We couldn’t resist putting the WhiskyFair TAKAO banner again here because we loved the way it looked. It reflected the sophisticated affair that we attended very well, and we wanted to remind everyone again just how intriguing it had been. If you have missed the article for Day One, click here.

Beginning of Day Two

Day Two began in a frenzy because we were rushing to queue for our Littlemill 1988 and yet having the need to pack up our belongings because we were heading home that evening. The fact that we ran out of Taiwan dollars made things worse as we needed to find a money changer. However, we did manage to complete our tasks in time and reached the fairgrounds at 9.45 am, 15 minutes earlier than the opening hours.

The Anxiety of Queuing for a Limited Release Bottle

To our dismay, there were about 40 people ahead of us. We began to pray that we could still get our hands on Littlemill 1988. We managed to get into the fairgrounds at 10.15 am, and we rushed to the queue! As the line moved sluggishly, we hoped against hope that everyone in front of us was buying the Springbank 1994! Haha…The helpful staff at the counter began to call out the number of Littlemill 1988 bottles left. “Littlemill left 30 bottles…Littlemill left 20 bottles…” The anxiety was great indeed, especially when everyone in the queue began to count if they were still able to get it. When we were the first in the queue, the staff called out, “Littlemill left nine bottles…”

We breathed a sigh of relief because we knew that we could get our hands on the precious bottle after all! When we paid, the staff cheerfully told us, “You are lucky! You got the last 8th bottle!” And so, here it is!

Littlemill 1988

If you wondered why we did not get the Springbank as well, it was because we were only allowed to buy either the Littlemill or the Springbank. Oh, and they did not let Geek Choc buy the other bottle because Geek Flora purchased the Littlemill and it was apparent that we were together. So yeah, we missed that one! We probably need a better strategy next year! Hahaha…

Cuttlefish and three free drinks

After all that excitement, we were both in need of a drink. Right beside the annual bottle sales counter, there was a store selling dried cuttlefish and scallops. We stopped by for some tasting and ended up buying two packages. The generous storeowner gave us a free bag and then offered us a drink, on the house! We would be rude to say no, so we made our choices.

The exhibitor enjoyed talking to us so much that he ended up giving us one extra dram – The Ledaig 11 Years Old! These bottles were good stuff, and seriously, we felt somewhat embarrassed for having so many free drams. Nonetheless, the exhibitor waved away our concerns and told us how happy he was to meet so many foreign whisky lovers who appreciate his offerings.

Exciting Bottles at ARen Trading Co. Ltd

As we had promised Michael Hsieh, the owner of ARen Trading Co. Ltd (and co-organizer of WhiskyFair TAKAO) to visit him at his booth again, we headed over soon after our chat with the generous exhibitor. Michael had kept a bottle of AMAZING stuff just for us. Guess what it was? Let us give you a clue: it was the older sister of the Whisky Bible 2015 Best Whisky of the Year by Jim Murray!

Woohoo! It is the Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2009! The first in the batch and the older sister of the Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2013, which had won the Best Whisky of the Year in the Whisky Bible 2015. Once the bottle was out, everyone was in a frenzy to get the last bits of the liquid. We bought 40 ml of that last precious liquid, and another visitor bought 20 ml. The last guy who came along only managed to secure the final 15 ml! He was so elated even to achieve that last 15 ml that he did a little dance right at the booth!

More interesting bottles up ahead

As the crowd dispersed after the bottle kill of the Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2009, we had the chance to check out the rest of the bottle offerings. Geek Flora spied upon the Ardbeg Uigeadail – The Ultimate (first edition) and a TWA bottling of Littlemill 1989. We had to buy both because we wanted to taste them!

As we were going to head to the airport later, we had to buy samples instead of drinking it on the spot. It was a good idea as well since we would be able to review these bottles properly at our leisure. Michael, upon understanding that we were leaving for the airport soon, treated us to a little bit of the Littlemill 1989! “10ml would be fine for you!” he said and poured the whisky into one of our Glencairn glass. The nose was full of floral notes, and hints of sweet, creamy vanilla were apparent. These followed through in the palate and the finish. Notes of fragrant pears and green apples dominated the palate with the floral and vanilla lingering in the back. The finish was long and clean. We went to whisky heaven again after this little taste. It was so good!

The Drunken Master X Pin Xin Wine Shop

Next, we visited Pin Xin Wine Shop. Zhuang Meng is the founder of Pin Xin, and he works closely with Chunfeng from The Drunken Master. They have a range of independent bottling named The Octave. We were attracted by the beautiful labels on their bottles and wanted to find out more about them.

The range of whiskies from PX and TDM (Picture was taken from TDM FB page)

Unfortunately, we were not able to take the whole range of bottles during the crowded fair, so we took a picture of the entire range from The Drunken Master Facebook page. The Drunken Master launched these expressions one day after the fair, and we are proud to say that we managed to try some of them before they launched!

Geek Choc tried the Laphroaig 20 years old, but Geek Flora decided to pass and instead bought a sample of the Huntly home. The Huntly, as we understood from Zhuang Meng, was from The Balvenie. They did not allow the independent bottlers to name the distillery. Hence they had to use the location of the distillery instead.

Time to say Goodbye

After our chat with Zhuang Meng, we had to go. After checking out of the hotel, we went for a quick lunch before heading back to the fair to say bid farewell to everyone. It was a fantastic event and one which we enjoyed tremendously! We understood that WhiskyFair TAKAO 2018 would take place at Kaohsiung on 1st and 2nd December 2018! Next year, we are hoping to plan a trip together with some of our members, and we can all go there together! Until next year, folks! Slainte!

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