Review 642: Fuji Gotemba Kirin 18 Year

In one of our mega tastings we found this bottle in the line-up. It has been a while back since we had this tasting and I finally found the time to work out the tasting notes for it. I never knew about the existence of this distillery before I had this whisky in my glass. Now I don’t know much about it either ;). But it’s not about the distillery or the production process, it’s about the whisky.

Lets find out how this one performs in my glass.

What they write about it:

Unknown outside Japan, the Fuji Sanroku which means “at the foot of Mount Fuji”, is a great 18 year old single malt producted in Fuji Gotemba distillery owned by Kirin Group. Very surprising for the richness and depth of its fruity and woody aromas, Fuji Sanroku is a whisky to be savored rather as a digestive. Its creamy texture will appeal to most demanding lovers of single malt and people willing to learn a new traditional know-how from Japan.

The distillery is producing a majority of grain whisky and a small quantity of malt whisky entering in the composition of the Kirin blended whiskies. The Fuji Sanroku 18 year old is the only one single malt bottled as such by Kirin, which makes this single malt more rare and valuable.

Distillery:Fuji Gotemba Distillery
Region:Japan
Location:Gotemba, Shizuoka
Owner:Kirin Holdings
Founded:1973
Status:Active
Water Source:underground streams beneath Mt. Fuji.
Stills:4 pot stills and unknown amount of column stills.
Capacity:no information provided

Expression:Fuji Gotemba Kirin 18 Year
Category:Single Malt
Bottled by:Fuji Gotemba Distillery - Kirin Whisky
Age:18 Year
ABV (% Alc):43.0%
Non-chill filtered:No
Natural colour:No
Phenols (smoke):0 ppm on barley
Distillation date:N/a
Bottle date:N/a
Vintage:N/a
Maturation:ex-bourbon
Cask number:N/a
Bottle number:N/a
Bottle content:70cl

Colour:
Light amber.

Nose:
A fresh, sweet and well balanced whisky with aromas of glue, acetone, plasticizers, pineapple, green apple, berries (red currents, raspberries), icing sugar, ginger, vanilla, toffee, caramel, prunes jam, hint of old fashioned anise milk, mocha, milk chocolate, roasted coconuts, almonds, custard, old books, floral tones, cedarwood and subtle oak.

Palate:
A fresh, fruity and well balanced whisky with aromas of candied ginger, milk chocolate, coconut, vanilla, prune juice, floral tones, berries (blueberries, red currants, raspberries, strawberries), boiled sweets, toffee, caramel, white pepper, tannins, pine resin, cinnamon, subtle earthy tones, canned apricots, cedarwood and charred oak.

Finish:
A medium to long, sweet and slightly drying finish with aromas of honey, ginger, milk chocolate, coconut, tannins, cinnamon, almonds and creamy oak.

Conclusion:
As a first impression of this distillery I can’t say anything other than that I’m impressed. It’s like a liquid creamy desert with good depth of flavour and a remarkable balance. The glue, solvent tones on the nose fade quick enough to make room to the fruity and creamy aromas. It’s a vibrant and playful whisky that is quite engaging. From a price point of view this is ridiculous! It costs (01/2017) more than €400,- and I know age stated whisky’s from Japan are rare but this is overdoing it (and exorbitantly so).
All in all a surprisingly good and well balanced whisky

What are your thoughts on the liquid in this bottle?