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Aged-ol' question of Japanese whisky


FOR Japanese whisky lovers, the past couple of years have been painful ones. One by one, they saw the likes of Nikka 12 Year Old and Hibiki 17 Year Old disappearing, and don't even think about getting a last taste of Yamazaki 25 Year Old as the shortage of aged Japanese whisky deals a huge blow to aficionados.

Although Japanese whisky - touting the quality of its natural water and obsession with craftsmanship - only captivated the world a very short four years ago, demand for aged whisky has outstripped supply, sending prices through the roof - if you can even find it.

But is it really crisis time for whisky lovers? In Friday's issue of Weekend magazine, we look at how Japanese whisky became so popular and whether overly successful marketing has resulted in the belief that the older a whisky is, the better it is. Veterans in the whisky business say age is not the only indicator of a quality pour, but rather how well it ages in its cask, with each barrel reaching its peak in as little as five years. See if you agree.

Meanwhile, we speak to violinist Charlie Siem, who seems to have it all - good looks, money and yes, a flair for classical music. He talks about how he went from being in a non-musical family to becoming a Yehudi Menuhin protege who draws fans wherever he performs. We also have a chat with shoemaker extraordinaire Gianvitto Rossi, and fill you in on what investment handbags to put your money on this year.

Elsewhere, we fall down the rabbit hole as we check out a new exhibition dedicated to the fantasy world of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland; peep into an apartment with a stellar waterfront view; and discover the joys of alternative steak cuts and speciality burgers.

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