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Whisky Tourism in Asia

亞洲威士忌旅遊

As the popularity of whisky grows and grows in Hong Kong, more and more people are looking to undertake “whisky tourism” – holidays with the primary purpose of furthering their whisky knowledge, expanding their whisky experiences, or simply enjoying more whisky.

There are of course the obvious destinations – Scotland (pick a region), Ireland, USA (Kentucky Bourbon trail)…but did you know you can actually enjoy whisky tourism much closer to home? Yes, Asia Pacific actually offers a wide variety of whisky experiences, from distilleries to festivals to bars, many of which can be reached from Hong Kong by a short-haul flight.

Those looking to see the whisky-making process in action in Asia have a few countries to choose from, but Japan undoubtedly provides the widest choice. From large, established distilleries like Yamazaki (half-day return trip from Osaka), Yoichi (half-day return trip from Sapporo) and the stunningly picturesque Hakushu (full day return trip from Tokyo), to smaller distilleries like Chichibu (a full day return trip from Tokyo), Japan offers whisky lovers a chance to get up close and personal with the whisky-making process. It’s worth noting though, Japanese distilleries don’t all offer in-depth tours to suit enthusiasts, like many Scottish distilleries do. At Hakushu and Yamazaki for example, there’s one tour available, and it’s relatively basic (albeit free). Many smaller distilleries require booking in advance too.

 

Outside Japan, the whisky-making process can be experienced in both Taiwan (most famously at the humungous Kavalan distillery, a full day return trip from Taipei) and India (which has several distilleries, the most well-known of which, Amrut, a half-day from Bangalore, offers tours by appointment). A little further out, many of Australia’s 30+ distilleries also offer tours, including New World Whisky Distillery (makers of Starward), literally walking distance from Melbourne City, and Archie Rose, barely a 15min taxi ride from Sydney city. Then of course there’s the Tasmanian Whisky Trail, comprising a variety of distilleries.

It’s not just distilleries which attract whisky tourism, however. Every year, many whisky lovers make the trek to one of the excellent whisky shows around Asia. Three personal favourites are Whisky Live Singapore (November), Whisky L! Shanghai (August) and Modern Malt Market Japan (September). Japan also hosts many smaller shows, including the much-loved Chichibu Whisky Matsuri (February).

Last but not least, we can’t forget the whisky bar scene in Asia. Japan absolutely rules the roost, with incredible whisky bars to be found in almost every major city. There are too many to mention, but in Japan you’re almost never far from a fantastic whisky bar. Outside Japan, Taipei’s L'arrière-cour (Backyard) is a favourite, and Singapore’s The Auld Alliance (with 1,500+ bottles, including many old, vintage bottles from the 1930s and earlier) is a temple every whisky lover must visit at least once.  

Whilst there’s no doubt a degree of magic involved in visiting a place like Scotland, next time you’re planning a short getaway in Asia, considering adding a little whisky tourism into the mix.

 

隨著威士忌的受歡迎程度在香港與日俱增,越來越多人更嚮往威士忌旅遊,即是一個主要擴闊對威士忌認知和見識,或是純粹享受更多威士忌的假日。

事實上有很多明確的地點都很適合,例如蘇格蘭(要選一個區域)、愛爾蘭、美國(肯塔基波本之路)…

但其實你會否知道你可以在不離香港遠處,就能感受威士忌旅遊?冇錯,亞太區早己提供各種廣泛的威士忌體驗,多個酒廠、節慶、酒吧都能夠讓你乘搭香港短途飛機到達。

雖然亞洲有幾個國家可以提供釀造威士忌的過程,但日本無疑是提供廣泛最多的選擇,由大型酒廠像山崎(從大阪回來只需半日)、余市(從札幌回來只需半日)、白洲(從東京回來只需一天)至小型酒廠像秩父(同樣從東京回程只需一天)。日本為威士忌愛好者提供近距離和個人化的釀酒過程,雖然是機會難得,但不是日本所有酒廠都能夠如蘇格蘭威士忌一樣,提供深入的遊覽來形合愛好者的喜好,好似白洲和山崎這樣,只可以提供一個頗簡單遊覽行程(即使免費)。其他當地小型酒廠同樣要提早預約。

除了日本,威士忌愛好者同樣可以選擇在台灣(最有名就是Kavalan酒廠,從台北只需一天回程)和印度(有數個威士忌酒廠,最有名的是Amrut,從班加羅爾回程只需半日,遊覽行程需預約。) 較遠一些的澳洲,她擁有超過三十間酒廠,大部分都設有遊覽行程,包括New World威士忌酒廠(釀造Starward的酒廠),只需在墨爾本步行便容易到達。Archie Rose 你只需在悉尼乘搭十五分鐘的士便能到達。當然還不能不提塔斯曼尼亞威士忌之路,擁有各種不同的酒廠。

不過不是只有酒廠才能吸引威士忌旅遊,每年都有很多威士忌愛好者遠赴亞洲其中一個精彩的大型威士忌展覽。我個人喜歡三個:分別是新加坡Whisky Live (十一月)、上海Whisky L! (八月)和日本Modern Malt Market(九月)。日本仍然主辦很多小型展覽,包括很受歡迎的秩父威士忌祭(二月)。

最後當然不能忘記亞洲的威士忌酒吧,日本絕對是鶴立雞群,她幾乎所有城市都可以搜尋得到非常美好的威士己吧!在日本實在有太多美好酒吧需要介紹,但你幾乎不會走太遠便找到心水。日本之外,台北的L'arrière-cour 是我較喜愛酒吧之一,還有新加坡的The Auld Alliance是威士忌愛好者至少必須朝聖一次的酒吧之一,因為它擁有超過一千五百瓶酒,包括很多在一九三零之前出產的舊式和古董酒瓶。

雖然毫無疑問,參觀一個像蘇格蘭這樣的地方有一定程度的吸引力讓我們著迷,但下次你安排一個短途亞洲旅行的話,不如考慮加上少許威士忌旅遊點來豐富行程。