Big in Japan
Posted 02 June 2017 / In Fuji Gotemba
Kirin Fuji Sanroku 50
Distillery: Fuji Gotemba
New Japanese whiskies are often either gone from the shelves before anyone has the chance to write about them, or they're being created (generally poorly in my opinion) by wine and shochu producers in an effort to jump on the Japanese whisky zeitgeist. Fuji Gotemba’s new bottling is neither of those things, being both available, and produced at one of Japan’s actual whisky distilleries. It’s also coming in at 50% ABV and is non-chill filtered. Exciting times.
Fuji Gotemba, located in the city of Gotemba at the base of Mount Fuji (see what they did with the distillery name there?) produces three type of grain whisky in addition to malt: light - from a column still, medium - from a kettle and column, and heavy - from a beer column and doubler. Chief Blender Jota Tanaka has favoured the medium and heavier grains along, of course with malts, to create the Fuji Sanroku 50. It is the first permanently available entry-level Japanese blended whisky which is not chill filtered.
Nose: Huge dollops of caramel, honey and vanilla are immediate and pronounced. Biscuits, baking notes are supported by black tea and earthy hints.
Taste: Good mouthfeel, but arguably a touch hot. Strong on the biscuits again with sweet grains taking centre stage. Grape juice is mixed with some glue notes and peppers.
Finish: Short to medium favouring cocoa and vanilla.
Pretty impressed with this. A warm, sweet and inviting nose is matched with a taste which is well balanced - sweetness never becoming cloying. The high ABV of 50% provides substantial punch and good mouthfeel, but does lead to a fairly aggressive arrival. Very affordable in Japan and not out of this world if you can find it in other countries too.
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