[Sunday 15 October 2023] Inaugural event of the Whisky Connoisseur Club


Whisky Connoisseur Club inaugural event, to be held on Sunday 15 October 2023. Describes the event and how to buy tickets.

The Institute of Whisky Culture Inc. will hold its first Commemorative “Connoisseur Club Inaugural Event” on Sunday 15 October 2023 to celebrate the launch of a new membership organization, the “Whisky Connoisseur Club (WCC)”. Participation is limited to the first 300 people who have a Whisky Expert (WE), Professional (WP), Lecturer (WL) or other Connoisseur qualification only.

The event includes a large tasting of over 300 whiskies and spirits and a keynote speech by Mamoru Tsuchiya, President of the Institute of Whisky Culture. There will also be a bottle raffle with Mamoru Tsuchiya’s treasured bottles.


1. About Whisky Connoisseur and Whisky Connoisseur Club

1-1. What is a whisky connoisseur?

Whisky Connoisseur means “connoisseur” and is the only qualification system in the world that tests all knowledge of whisky and the ability to appraise it, and is presided over by the Institute of Whisky Culture. There are three levels of qualification, the first being “Whisky Expert”, the second “Whisky Professional” and the final and most difficult “Master of Whisky”, which can be obtained in stages.
Click here for the Whisky Connoisseur HP.

1-2. What is the Whisky Connoisseur Club?

The Whisky Connoisseur Club (WCC) is a new membership organization, commonly known as the Connoisseur Club, established in July 2023. The aim is to further promote whisky culture, and membership is open only to holders of the Whisky Connoisseur qualification. The annual membership fee is 6,600 yen (including tax), but it comes with a wealth of membership benefits.
Click here to join the Whisky Connoisseur Club.

■Membership Special

  1. Publication of newsletters
    “Connoisseur Club” (A4 booklet: 16-24 pages) is published four times a year as a members’ information magazine. Each issue contains the latest distillery lists, maps and world whisky news necessary for connoisseurs. A must-have for brushing up your knowledge.
  2. Event ticket invitations
    You will receive two invitation tickets to the “Whisky Festival in Tokyo” and “Whisky Festival in Osaka” organized by the Institute of Whisky Culture (worth 10,000 yen each).
  3. Exclusive Connoisseur Club events
    You can participate in tastings, events, seminars and tours exclusively for Connoisseur Club members. In addition, you will receive a number of privileges, such as priority application for Connoisseur-only major tastings and brush-up seminars.
  4. Original bottle distribution
    Priority application and purchase rights for the exclusive Connoisseur distribution bottles.

2. How to purchase tickets

Purchase from the official website of the Institute of Whisky Culture. Purchase deadline: 9 October, 12pm.
Connoisseur Club members: JPY 5,500 (incl. tax), Connoisseur qualification holders: JPY 7,700 (incl. tax), bottle raffle ticket: JPY 2200 (incl. tax).

Click here for the Connoisseur Club members-only page.
Click here for the Connoisseur qualification holders only page.

3. The outline of the event

The event includes a keynote speech by Mamoru Tsuchiya, where you can find out about the latest whiskies from around the world and Japan, a large tasting of over 300 whiskies and spirits, a bottle raffle to win Mamoru Tsuchiya’s prized bottles, and a blind tasting competition.。

VenueEBiS303 Event Hall, 3F Ebisu Subaru Building, 1-20-8 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0013, Japan
Access・About 3 minutes walk from East Exit of JR Ebisu Station.
・About 4 minutes walk from Exit 1 of Ebisu Station on the Subway Hibiya Line.
Date and time of the eventSunday 15 October 2023, 11:00-18:00
Price・Connoisseur Club members: 5,500 yen (tax included)
・Connoisseur qualification holders: 7,700 yen (tax included)
・Bottle raffle tickets: 2,200 yen (tax included)
OrganizerJapan Whisky Research Centre

3-1. Time schedule

  • 11: 00 – Registration opens
  • 11:30 – Keynote speech by Mamoru Tsuchiya (1) “The world whisky situation, the latest distillery information and its trends” (70 minutes)
  • 12:40 – Break
  • 13:30 – Whisky Connoisseurs’ aims and future activities (10 minutes)
  • 13:40~ Keynote speech by Mamoru Tsuchiya (2) “The whisky distilleries in Japan, the latest information about them and their trends” (70 minutes)
  • 14:50 – Break
  • 15:10 – Large tasting of whiskies and spirits, reception
  • 16:00 – Lottery
  • 17:00 – Blind tasting competition
  • 18:00 Closing

3-2. Bottle lottery

30 unopened bottles from the treasured bottle collection of Mamoru Tsuchiya, head of the Institute of Whisky Culture.
Click here for the list of winning bottles.
There are also several Scotch, American and Japanese bottles, so it’s a gorgeous line-up.
Those who miss out on the draw will also receive one 100 ml souvenir bottle.
*To take part in the bottle lottery, you need to purchase a bottle lottery ticket for JPY 2,200 at the same time as your ticket purchase.

3-3. Blind tasting competitions

A challenge from Mamoru Tsuchiya! This is the biggest blind tasting competition in the history of the event.

Mamoru Tsuchiya will award prizes to three winners drawn from those who answer correctly. If you are one of those who think ” I am the one!” If you are one of them, why don’t you take part in this event? If you drink too much at the big tasting before that, you may end up with a bad result.

4. Finally

The “Whisky Connoisseur Qualification Scheme”, which began in 2004, will celebrate its 20th anniversary with the expert examination in May 2023, and the “Whisky Connoisseur Club (WCC)”, commonly known as the Connoisseur Club, a new membership organization at the Institute of Whisky Culture, will be launched in July 2023 with the aim of further spreading whisky culture. Although this event is limited to holders of this Connoisseur qualification, some people may be interested in challenging the Connoisseur qualification through this type of event.


Lastly: Recommended Books on Japanese Whisky

If you want to learn more about Japanese whisky, which is a global trend, we highly recommend these books.

(1).Whisky Galore Vol.29 December 2021 issue

In the December 2021 issue of Whisky Galore, published by the Whisky Culture Research Institute, we report on 11 Japanese craft distilleries, including some that are open to the public for the first time, under the title of “Japanese Whisky Craft Frontline,” the first of three consecutive issues. Why did the popularity of Japanese whisky and the craft boom occur? We will examine with interviews. Chichibu Distillery / Chichibu No.2 Distillery / Mars Shinshu Distillery / Mars Tsunuki Distillery / Kanosuke Distillery / Hioki Distillery / Ontake Distillery / Osuzuyama Distillery / Kaikyo Distillery / Hanyu Distillery / Konosu Distillery

(2). Japanese Whisky as an Education for Business

This is a book written by Mamoru Tsuchiya, a world-famous whisky critic and representative of the Whisky Culture Research Institute, titled “Japanese Whisky as a Culture that Works for Business” .
The book covers the basics of whisky, the introduction of whisky to Japan, the birth of Japanese whisky, advertising strategies and the rise of Japanese whisky, and the current rise of craft distilleries. This is a book that summarizes Japanese whisky in a very easy to understand way.

(3). Whisky and I (Masataka Taketsuru)

Masataka Taketsuru, the founder of Nikka Whisky, devoted his life to brewing whisky in Japan. This is a revised and reprinted version of the autobiography of a man who simply loved whisky and talked about himself. The book vividly depicts the days when he went to Scotland alone to study as a young man and overcame many hardships to complete Japanese whisky, as well as his companion, Rita.

(4). A Letter of Challenge from a New Generation Distillery

Launching in 2019. With the world experiencing an unprecedented whisky boom, what were the managers of craft distilleries thinking and what were their thoughts as they took on the challenge of making whisky? This book tells the stories of 13 craft distillery owners, including Ichiro Hido of Venture Whisky, famous for his Ichirose Malt, who inspired the birth of craft distilleries in Japan.

(5). Whiskey Rising

This is the Japanese version of Whisky Risng, published in the US in 2016, with much updated content. Not only does it describe the history of Japanese whisky in detail, but it also includes data on all the distilleries in Japan, including the craft distilleries that have been founded in recent years. The book also includes descriptions of the legendary bottles that have been released, as well as information on bars where Japanese whisky can be found.


Misato Ushiwata

Born in Fukushima Prefecture.
She attended a university in Tokyo, where she studied brewing and other sciences while translating articles for the "Japanese Whisky Dictionary".

Misato Ushiwataをフォローする
Japanese Whisky Dictionary