Tag Archives: Nikka

Whiskey Appreciation Masterclass at The Whiskey House

Whisky or Whiskey? Depends on your geographic location and the English language that you are taught in, both word refer to the same alcoholic beverage around the world that we love and appreciate. My early whisky journeys evolve around Scotch whisky, bourbon whiskey before moving into Japanese whisky.

The world of whisky is pretty big out there, yet there is this duplex in the world today, that has a wide selection of whiskey from all over the world inside the duplex. Where can you find this wide whiskey selection? Inside Changi Airport Terminal 2, it is known as The Whiskey House! With a diverse range of 179 single malts, 68 blended Scotch whiskies, 30 American whiskies inside The Whiskey House, for the Whisky or Whiskey lover in you, this is a must visit place when you visit Singapore! As a whisky fan and avid traveler, I am wondering to myself, how did I manage to miss out this awesome whisky place inside Changi Airport during my previous trips?

On the upper level of the duplex, there is an amazing, must visit destination for all whisky lovers, an intuitive and experiential whiskey shopping experience whereby you can enjoy complimentary tastings of 100 different whiskies from around the world. This is where you taste and enjoy the whisky before choosing your favourite whiskey to bring home.

This was also the location whereby I attended their Whiskey Appreciation Masterclass, part of the Whiskey Festival, taking place from May 25 to July 1 at Changi Airport. For that weekend on June 16 and 17, the regional brand ambassador for The Balvenie whisky house played host for whiskey appreciation masterclass. That was where we met Neil Strachan from Scotland, who hosted us for the whisky appreciation masterclass. His sharing was very interesting and interactive, teaching us how to appreciate and learn more about whisky, the fragrance, aroma and taste. Having an expert to share about whisky tasting makes drinking whisky even more special and fun! If you are a Scotch whisky fan, do follow Neil on his Instagram account! Neil is an awesome ambassador, I hope to have future opportunities to learn more about Scotch whisky from him!

I am probably the “worst student” among the group of us at the Whiskey Appreciation Masterclass because I was busy tasting/drinking the Balvenie single malt vintage whiskies (I don’t wish to declare the number of whisky glasses that I had during the masterclass!) and taking photos of them for this article! While this is not specifically a whisky review article, I would just share some of my thoughts, all of them are pure vintage class and each has its own distinct fragrance, aroma and strength. What were the types of Balvenie whiskies that we tasted during the Whiskey Appreciation Masterclass? There were the 12 years, 16 years, 21 years and 25 years! Do you have a favourite from these four bottles of Balvenie whiskies? From these four bottles of Balvenie vintage whiskies, my preference is the 25 years vintage!

While drinking and enjoying Balvenie whisky, it brought back my recent travel memories to Nikka distillery in Yoichi, Hokkaido, during October 2016. I had a memorable and fun whisky tasting/distillery tour on my own! I would love to visit the whisky distilleries in Scotland in the future! Nothing beats visiting a whisky house/distillery, soaking in the atmosphere and surroundings! It’s like a pilgrimage for whisky lovers!

Whisky and Whiskey lovers in the world, I know you have a bias towards particular whisky houses around the world, you have your favourite whiskies. When you visit Singapore, don’t miss this golden opportunity to visit the Whiskey House inside Changi Airport Terminal 2!

I hope to share more about my whisky tasting experiences in the future, along with cuisines that would be suitable for each type of whisky. Whisky and cuisines pairing sounds like a great food and beverage adventure for me!

I would like to thank Changi Airport Social for the invitation to the whiskey appreciation masterclass!

Hokkaido 2016 Photography Adventure Day 3

23rd October 2016 – Day 3

It’s Sunday in Hokkaido, another cold and chilly autumn morning with the cold wind blowing. My plan for the morning was to make a pilgrimage to a whiskey that I really like a lot, Nikka whiskey. The birth place of Nikka whiskey is in this place called Yoichi, just three JR stations away from Otaru. I checked the local JR train timetable heading towards Yoichi the night before, planned the time to wake up, head towards onsen, buy my breakfast from the JR Otaru station convenience store before boarding the local JR train to Yoichi.

The local JR train ride was fun and I always love my traveling experiences there. Although it was only three stations away, the distance between them were quite far apart. I loved the views from my short JR train ride, I saw the colourful trees, the sea, coast line, hills and houses. My train ride was quite busy, not too packed, there were a number of people on the same train ride too. I spotted some elderly Japanese folks drinking beer in the morning while traveling on the train!

Nikka Distillery

Upon arriving at JR Yoichi station, there were a lot of people that were riding together on the train also alighted along with me. It dawned upon me pretty quickly that we were all heading towards a common destination, the Nikka distillery! A short walk away from JR Yoichi station, I arrived at the entrance to Nikka distillery, I am awed and excited because I made a pilgrimage to my favourite whiskey!

Visiting and walking inside Nikka distillery wasn’t too difficult, you can choose to join a guided tour (in Japanese though) or you can choose to walk around and explore on your own. I chose to walk around and explore myself. There were many information at various locations on the history, significance and things related to Nikka whiskey. The most interesting segments for me were the whiskey museum and Nikka Kaikan (guest hall, tasting room). My most eagerly anticipated segment of visiting Nikka distillery was the free whiskey tastings! There were 3 types of whiskey available for tasting inside the Nikka Kaikan, there were some rules to follow for visitors, no drinking for those visitors driving and each visitor is only allowed to taste 1 glass of whiskey from each type of whiskey available for tasting.

Whiskey is supposed to be enjoyed slowly, shaking and stirring the aroma up from the whiskey, slowly sipping, enjoying the after taste before continuing to slowly sip up the rest of the whiskey. In the midst of my excitement and over enthusiasm, I drank two of the three whiskey in kind of double quick time. Although I really loved the taste and feeling, my head started to spin because I drank too fast and furious! I had to quickly grab some ice water to drink and settle myself down!

There was a place known as Distillery Shop “Northland”, a gift shop to buy gifts and Nikka whiskey. Initially, I thought of buying Nikka whiskey back home to Singapore, however, they were not able to do the duty free procedure therefore I decided not to buy it back. Instead, I bought an ice ball maker and a box of Nikka Distillery chocolates.

I checked the return trip JR train time table when I first entered into the JR Yoichi station, therefore, I had a bit of time to walk around Yoichi and have a quick look before making my way to JR Yoichi station. Japanese trains were very efficient, reliable and punctual. The station masters opened up the doors for the passengers to walk out to the platform about 10 mins before the scheduled arrival time of the JR train. The visitors queued up in rows, waiting in line for the train to arrive. The JR train arrived exactly at the scheduled time as printed on the boards inside the train station.

Reaching JR Otaru station, there was a short time transition for passengers to switch and hop on to the another JR train heading towards Sapporo. This was how great, detailed and thoughtful the Japanese placed in service delivery standards.

When I reached Sapporo, I wanted to look for the Travelers notebook by the Traveler’s Company. However, I wasn’t able to find my way around the shopping centre and I didn’t manage to buy it during my trip to Hokkaido. I went back to the same lunch place yesterday, ordered a curry beef rice, enjoyed my lunch and took the next available train back to Otaru, for my late afternoon to night view of Otaru from Mt Tenguyama.

Mt Tenguyama, Otaru

Mt. Tenguyama, is a famous and well known tourism destination in Otaru, as well as in Hokkaido. On top of Mt Tenguyama, it has one of the best views of Hokkaido, highly rated and recommended by both locals and international visitors. I took a bus from Otaru bus terminal in front of JR Otaru station towards the foot of Mt Tenguyama where the ropeway station was located. I took the ropeway up and it was a great view of Otaru, the port and the sea!

Mt Tenguyama indeed had some gorgeous views up at the top, there were a few observation points that allowed visitors to take photographs of Otaru and her surroundings from different observation points. The weather was a bit overcast and pretty cloudy when I was up on top of Mt Tenguyama. I explored around the top of Mt Tenguyama, it’s really peaceful and beautiful. There were gusty chilly winds blowing on that evening, making it very challenging for me to stay long outside in the open to take photographs (I was kind of freezing up there on Mt Tenguyama).

Waiting for the sun to set and night to arrive, I finally caught a good glimpse of the night landscape scenery of Otaru. I didn’t bring my tripod up to Mt Tenguyama therefore I made the best out of everything in a very cold autumn night with gusty winds blowing at the top of Mt Tenguyama.

Taking the ropeway ride down, enjoying the nights sceneries of Otaru. I took the bus back to Otaru city centre, went to JR Otaru station and bought a half deep fried chicken for dinner back to my hotel room whereby I was able to keep myself warm from another cold chilly autumn night.

On my last night in Otaru at Dormy Inn Premium, I went down for my night singing noodles, the hot and heartwarming Yonaki Soba, my last time to enjoy this wonderful noodles, I am not too sure when I would have the chance again. Upon finishing the delicious Yonaki Soba, I went back to my room, packed my luggage while resting before coming down to relax and enjoy at the onsen before my sleep time.

Hokkaido Autumn 2016 Day 3


Created with flickr slideshow.

Hokkaido Autumn 2016


Created with flickr slideshow.